75+ Congressional House and Senate members led by Civil rights icon and Georgia democratic Representative, John Lewis have staged a sit-in in the well of the house chambers that started earlier today. The sit-in comes in the wake of the U.S. senate voting down four gun control measures that were proposed after a 15 hour filibuster lead by Connecticut Senator, Chris Murphy, last week. According to Lewis the members of the Democratic party “can no longer wait…today we come to the well of the house to dramatize the need for action. Not next month, not next year, but now–today”, he went on to say, “We have lost hundreds and thousands of innocent people to gun violence — tiny little children, babies, students and teachers, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, friends and neighbors — and what has this body done?”.
Prior to the sit-in members of the house passionately spoke to the house about the importance of passing these gun control laws, several of them started chanting “No bill, no break”. Senator Chris Murphy, along with 14 other senators have also joined the sit-in.
It is also worth noting that Rhode Island’s two congressmen, James Langevin and David Cicilline have joined the sit-in.
The four gun control measures that failed to pass the senate would have expanded criminal background checks before gun purchases and instituted a “no fly, no buy” policy for those on the federal terror watch lists”. Poll after poll suggest that most Americans, even those who strongly stand by the 2nd amendment, are in favor of these measures. Yet, even after more than a 100 gun control bills in congress and numerous mass shootings including ones in Newton, Connecticut; San Bernardino, California, Charleston, South Carolina, and recently, Orlando, Florida legislators have yet to pass any of the control measures into law.
Support for the sit-in have poured in from all over the country via social media, President Barack Obama, Former President, Bill Clinton and Hilary Clinton have praised the legislators for their actions.
Opponents of the gun control measures, most of whom are republicans, say they violate constitutional rights.
This act of activism by the legislators appears to show a change in the way business is conducted in the U.S. congress, in an interview with CBS news Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut praised the legislation and said “This is the beginning of something much bigger, and it will shake the business as usual approach of the United States Congress – there’s no more business as usual…The nation has reached at tipping point, Orlando sent a signal that enough is enough, and that’s what they’re saying.”