House Democrats end 25 hour Congress sit-in on gun control after Orlando massacre
A sit-in by US House Democrats has ended, after passing 25-hours.
The horrific massacre at Pulse nightclub, which left 49 people dead and 53 injured, was carried out with legally-bought assault weapons, despite the FBI monitoring the gunman over terrorism concerns.
In the wake of the massacre, LGBT groups have rallied around the gun control cause: but majority Republicans in Congress have been unwilling to move, with four separate basic bills blocked, including basic background checks.
According to CNN, the sit-in ended just hours after a fight broke out on the House floor, as the sit-in took place to force a debate on gun control.
Republican Representative Louie Gohmert, of Texas, attempted to disrupt the sit-in by saying that the mass shooting last weekend at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, was down to gunman Omar Mateen’s religion.
Since the mass shooting, the deadliest in US history, many have called for tighter gun controls, especially affecting access to assault weapons like Mateen used at Pulse.
Mateen pledged his support to ISIS and other extremist groups, and ISIS took responsibility for the shooting.
“Radical Islam killed these people!” Gohmert shouted, “…ISIS killed these people!”
But the Associated Press notes that representative Corrinne Brown, a Florida Democrat, had to be separated from Gohmert after the two got into a spat.
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Brown had previously called on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, to allow Reps to vote on the ‘no fly, no buy’ legislation, which would limit the movement and access to firearms of those on terrorist watch lists.
But Ryan had told CNN that the bill, and another around background checks, had been voted down by the House.
“We’re not going to take away a citizen’s constitutional rights without due process,” Ryan said, calling the sit-in a “publicity stunt”.
In a release on Wednesday, Brown said Congress had blocked such bills over a dozen times.
“Congress must not leave Washington, D.C. without voting on common sense gun violence prevention legislation to save lives,” she said.
“Mass shootings have become unacceptably commonplace in our country, and it is clearer than ever that we have a responsibility to do more to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”