Jun 22 2016
01:03 pm

Led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, about 60 Democrats are staging a sit-in on the House floor (literally on the floor) demanding a vote on stricter gun control measures...

"No bill, no break!"




UPDATE: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined them...

UPDATE: Historic moment captured: A powerful speech...

michael kaplan's picture

Ryan just shut off the

Ryan just shut off the cameras in the House.

Update: they've turned off the microphones.

Rachel's picture

They're now tweeting and I

They're now tweeting and I think I heard there's a live feed somewhere.

Good for them.

Dahlia's picture

It's being shown through

someone's cell phone or something. Paul Ryan is a sack of sh...

Min's picture


Yes, he is.

R. Neal's picture

Steve Cohen is with them. I'm

Steve Cohen is with them. I'm guessing Jimmy Duncan is not.

Min's picture

So is Jim Cooper.

Andy Axel's picture

Laziest Congress ever on all

bizgrrl's picture

Seventy-five year old Rep.

Seventy-five year old Rep. Jim Clyburn, South Carolina, willing to spend the night on the floor. Said he did it in the 60s and thinks his body can handle it again.

R. Neal's picture

Dear Member of the House and

Dear Member of the House and former colleagues:

There is nowhere I would rather be right now than with you — on the floor of the People’s House, representing Southern Arizona, fighting for our country, and working to make our communities safer. But your action is the balm for my regret — and it is the inspiration for my continued commitment.
Fighting gun violence takes great courage. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. I see great courage in many of you right now.

Americans are grappling with a gun violence crisis. It is a crisis that tears apart the lives of so many Americans and touches every community. It is both public and private. In our homes and on our streets. At work, at church, at the movies, at a dance club, at school and at school again, at a Congress on Your Corner. The victims are young and old — but always with so much life ahead of them. They are white and black, Latino and Asian, and Native American. They are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and straight. They are Christian and Muslim, Jewish and Sikh. They are veterans and government workers and union members. They are rich and poor. They die by murder, they die by suicide, and they die by negligence. Often, they don’t die, but they carry the scars, and their lives change forever.

If gun violence affects all of us Americans, then the solution is not up to just some of us. We are all responsible for our safety today and for the country we pass on to our children tomorrow. It’s what makes us a country. Where our country has already come together — behind the simple proposition that we ought to have laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people — so must our Congress. And they should not waste another minute.

We must not accept the world that will be the product of inaction in Washington. We can do better. Some states have already made progress — they show us that when we put aside our incidental or momentary differences and stand shoulder to shoulder, we have enormous power.

It’s been said that hope was forged of two powerful ingredients: anger at how things are, and the courage to change them. We will not be driven backwards to live in isolation from one another and in fear of violence.

Thanks to you — and millions of Americans who share our values of pluralism, liberty, and responsibility — we will stand strong and work toward a safer nation for all of us.

Speaking is difficult for me. But I haven’t been silenced. And neither should the American people. Their Representatives must vote to prevent gun violence.

Gabrielle Giffords

bizgrrl's picture



Rachel's picture

CSPAN has a live feed from

CSPAN has a live feed from one of the people on the floor.

R. Neal's picture

Tammy Duckworth leaves her

Tammy Duckworth leaves her wheelchair...

R. Neal's picture

Politico: House goes on break

Politico: House goes on break until July 5, pre-empting guns sit-in

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sought to to quell the Democratic demonstration by having lawmakers vote at 2:30 a.m. on several bills they had to pass this week, including one to combat the Zika virus. After that, Republican leaders sent lawmakers home until July 5, starting their already-scheduled recess a few days earlier than planned.

The move will deny Democrats any chance of votes on gun control legislation.

R. Neal's picture

They won't get a vote, but

They won't get a vote, but Democrats are still occupying the House floor...


bizgrrl's picture

Shortly after 7:00 a.m.,

Shortly after 7:00 a.m., about 20 Democrats remained on the House floor, including House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

A police told the Democrats that they will be conducting a daily security sweep. "I'd ask that you clear the floor while that happens," the officer said.

Pelosi responded: "That's not going to happen."

Knoxoasis's picture

Simply unbelievable

So folks are cheering a childish stunt, engaged in for the noble purpose of denying Constitutional rights to people who are guilty of nothing except being placed on secret "watch lists" by unaccountable bureaucrats. I'm actually stunned at the extent to which "progressives" have swallowed the idea of the security state hook line and sinker.

So I will repeate my modest proposal from the last time this insanity arose. It appears that the root cause of the Orlando massacre was Mateen's "self radicalization" from watching jihadi videos on the Internet. So let's have a sit in to deny Muslims the right to use the Internet, access public libraries or in any way have access to information which might tend to push them in a radical direction. Let's have intensive FBI surveillance of mosques to make sure they are not sending jihadi messages or propaganda. Let's engage in prophylactic incarceration of persons the government may suspect, so that they may not do any harm. Then we'd at last be safe!

Why stop with the denial of 2nd Amendment rights when it comes to potential terrorists? To be really safe we need to toss out the whole "freedom" thing altogether.

Ask yourselves this: once you've decided to preemptively deny Constitutional rights to people the government places on "watch lists", how will you feel if a President Trump or Cruz or, heck, any Republican President, was in charge of who went on those lists?

I never thought it would be Democrats who would lead the charge to destroy the Bill of Rights.

R. Neal's picture

"No fly, no buy" is not the

"No fly, no buy" is not the only proposal. There are others including extended background checks and longer waiting periods, and one that says if you are on the terrorist watch/no fly list it simply gets referred.

Mark Harmon's picture

So, let your congressman go on the record

This post is arguing the merits of the proposed bills. I could spend my time and space disputing the various points raised, but shouldn't that be done via congressional debate? Let these bills be debated and voted on. Paul Ryan is trying to avoid the embarrassment (and political fallout) of having his members vote against reasonable and popular proposals such as expanded background checks and "no-fly/no-buy" (which already has appeal provisions--the due process argument is a red herring).

Mike Knapp's picture

God, guns and glory 25 point program

So let's have a sit in to deny Muslims the right to use the Internet, access public libraries or in any way have access to information which might tend to push them in a radical direction. Let's have intensive FBI surveillance of mosques to make sure they are not sending jihadi messages or propaganda. Let's engage in prophylactic incarceration of persons the government may suspect, so that they may not do any harm. Then we'd at last be safe!

Short version - deny people Constitutionally protected rights, place them under surveillance and falsely equate proposed gun control measures with abridging the 2nd Amendment. The only thing missing is the part where we burn all the books covering American foreign policy over the last six decades or so.

Sounds familiar it's just that the vowels aren't as rounded.

Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.
Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.
Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.
We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.

Knoxoasis's picture

Hitler banned private

Hitler banned private ownership of firearms too.

Godwin's Law is a two-edged sword. Perhaps it requires background checks and a waiting period before it may be invoked.

Frankly I'm all for all the background checks you like. They woundn't have prevented Orlando, because Mateen's passed the background checks. He wasn't a felon. So red herring. You can have all the waiting periods you like. 9/11 was planned for years. So I doubt they would make much difference either.

What bothers me is the "no fly/no buy" idea emphasized by the woman in the picture above. That's the heart of it, and even if it is true that the idea has popular support its a specious argument. The whole point of Constitutiomal rights is that they cannot be abridged just because it's popular to do so. As an example, Dick Wolf has a very popular show right now called Chicago PD. It features a Chicago PD sergeant who has a secret room in the basement of his precinct where he takes suspects to torture confessions out of them. It's a popular show, and no doubt people think beating confessions out of suspects is a great idea. But no how much the public might like the idea of suspected pedophiles getting beaten to a pulp by crusading police officials, it ain't legal and never should be.

So also with this idiotic idea of depriving citizens of constitutional rights because someone in the government might suspect that they might do something evil. We still have a Fifth Amendment. You ought to take the time to read it.

Mike Knapp's picture

It's like a morning star and wholly appropriate

when people and politicians propose ideas that are practically word for word out of the nationalistic and racists elements of the Nazi 25 point program. Godwin's law doesn't preclude the comparisons to the Nazis, Lenin or any other dictator. It posits a critical thinking threshold.

Your statements meet that threshold. You wrote that you are in favor of

  • denying Muslims the right to use the internet,
  • denying access to public libraries
  • "prophylactic incarceration of persons the government may suspect"
  • "intensive FBI surveillance of mosques"

What you wrote wasn't subtle but rather to the point. It is what it is. Your proposition would take away rights guaranteed in the Constitution for religious minorities. What is particularly ironic about this is the history of protecting minority religious rights in the Constitution had their emergence not in protecting Muslim minorities but rather Baptists in Virginia.

False equivalency - show us anywhere in any of the fifty states or in the Federal government proposed legislation that bans the private ownership of firearms. Speaking of Godwin's law and the weak sauce aped from Guns, Crime and Freedom it's funny how someone who is supposedly so good with a gun can be so off target with his history.

Knoxoasis's picture

I'm very sorry that the

I'm very sorry that the phrase "modest proposal" didn't clue you in that what I was "proposing" was an exercise in reductio ad absurdum. You can catch up to the rest of the class here.

Mike Knapp's picture


The arguments are real and manifest themselves daily on AM radio and other media that reach a lot of people. I suppose you all know who Rick Wiles is.

“The left is calling for gun control. What we need is Muslim control. We don’t need to confiscate guns, we need to confiscate Muslims. You’re not going to solve this problem until you round up the Muslims and ship them out of this country. End of discussion. Outlaw Islam. Make it an illegal religion. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Pass a constitutional amendment that says we’re a Christian nation and Islam is illegal. Done. Get rid of it. Stamp it out before it destroys civilization.”

Satire of reality has become simply reality. Reductio ad absurdum indeed.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Mike, it was satire. Knoxoasis doesn't support those things.

Knox, I appreciate that you also support more expansive background checks and such and I do agree with everything you said as to how it's unfortunate that Dem's pandering to the public on the "no-fly/no buy" front kinda got all the attention. On the other gun control thread, I also cited these TV crime shows as having maybe been complict in confusing viewers on the difference between a "suspect" and a "convict." Big difference.

Still, Ryan could have set 'em straight on that point and Repubs could have cast their votes on other of the necessary changes we need to make.

Frustrating as some of the Dems' kabuki theater has been, there's no defending Repubs just walking out. I'm disgusted with the lot of 'em right now...

Rachel's picture

Hitler banned private

Hitler banned private ownership of firearms too.

Actually, Hitler LOOSENED restrictions, making it easier for most people to own guns. Except Jews, of course.

GDI's picture


The spouse and I are registered independents. We used to be registered Democrats, but felt the party had lost its way and couldn't flip to the other side. Stuff like this only confirms that decision.

We expect our statesmen to behave like statesmen, not a bunch of aging hippies reliving their you. This may play well with the party faithful, but know that it puts the rest of us off big time.

Rachel's picture

The spouse and I are

The spouse and I are registered independents

What state do you live in? Cause there's no such thing as "registered" independents (or Dems or Republicans) in Tennessee.

Treehouse's picture


A bunch of dead gay folks puts me off big time. Working on reasonable gun restrictions is statesman (and stateswoman)-like as hell!

Average Guy's picture

Bunch or a few

Both put me off.

But is it because the death toll is only 3 in Boston the reason we're not talking about pressure cooker restrictions?

The enemy here is dangerous ideology.

Our guide is constitutional. Through proper process, it can be changed. History has shown our amendments have mostly made our ideology current with societal needs and desires.

The guide of jihadists is the written interpretation of the word of Allah. As far as I'm aware, Sharia hasn't had any amendments.

While ours isn't perfect, it's not the problem.

Somebody's picture

But is it because the death

But is it because the death toll is only 3 in Boston the reason we're not talking about pressure cooker restrictions?

One object is designed to propel metal projectiles through flesh, while the other is designed to cook dinner more quickly. The second item can be bastardized to crudely accomplish the design of the first. The first item is pretty much only useful for its intended purpose or for practicing using it for its intended purpose.

Interestingly, pressure cookers have been refined and improved over the years in order to greatly reduce the probability that they will do anyone any physical harm. Market forces certainly help drive those improvements, but so do consumer safety regulations, along with manufacturers' liability risks inherent in selling products that could harm consumers.

Guns, on the other hand, are continually 'improved' to become more injurious and lethal, while those manufacturers are protected from safety regulations and liability risks inherent in selling products that could harm consumers.

The difference is that absurdly absolutist interpretations of the second amendment have resulted in the right to keep and bear arms being the only right enumerated in the constitution that has spawned corollary laws and interpretations that exempt the beneficiaries of those rights from almost any associated responsibilities.

fischbobber's picture

The problem in a nutshell.

The difference is that absurdly absolutist interpretations of the second amendment have resulted in the right to keep and bear arms being the only right enumerated in the constitution that has spawned corollary laws and interpretations that exempt the beneficiaries of those rights from almost any associated responsibilities.

Well stated.

Average Guy's picture


Your magic wand gets waved, all firearm progress goes away and all we're left with is the musket of the framers.

Does that solve the problem?

Somebody's picture

I'm not even sure what point

I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make with that fantasy.

Firearms are inherently dangerous, but we have the second amendment so they're not going away. Nonetheless, if the discussion on one side wasn't so committed to the absurd, reasonable compromises could be found that would allow people to have their guns, but would also reinstate accountability and responsibility to gun ownership as well as the manufacture of firearms.

Average Guy's picture

The point is, while you trim

The point is, while you trim around the edges of the 2nd amendment, that's not fixing the problem.

The problem is the ideology of setting up your entire society on one mythology book that advocates violence.

For sure I don't know what do about people who'd rather kill me and you than live.

But sure tweaking the 2nd amendment wouldn't do anything.

Sandy Hook and Charleston could have been seen as the problem (although I'd like to see psychotropic drugs addressed). But for many, now, after San Bernadino and Orlando the problem is seen differently.

And the change of perception is going to make any change that much harder.

R. Neal's picture

The problem is gun violence.

The problem is gun violence. The root causes are varied and numerous, and more than can be addressed by any of the measures being debated.

I'd be willing to bet that within a 10 mile radius of where you, I, "somebody" or anybody is sitting right now, there is someone with a handgun carry permit or an AR-15 or whatever that shouldn't be allowed to have one.

There are probably 10 more wife beaters, drug addicts, drug dealers, felons, "sovereign" citizens, "oath keepers," white supremicists, and other assorted unstable yahoos with handguns and other weapons, legal and illegal, that should scare the bejeebus out of us.

And none of them are with ISIS or on any watch lists.

So what to do? The problems don't appear solvable with legislation in my lifetime.

Maybe natural selection will take care of it eventually, except it seems to be working against us these days.

At this point, though, any legal, societal self-defense measures, however incremental, seem appropriate and necessary.


Somebody's picture

You deal with it by bending

You deal with it by bending the curve. Universal background checks are key.

The arms industry's strategy has been to use the NRA to convince people that it's about "freedom." This is a diversion. It's about creating a market to sell guns to both sides of a war, and in this case the war is on our own streets. By keeping big loopholes in sales and hobbling enforcement, a clear pathway is cut to get guns in the hands of "bad guys." This then sets up a great marketing opportunity to boost sales to "good guys." The more people shoot at each other, the better the sales.

Close the loopholes and enable enforcement and epidemiological research, and you break the strategy. Make it harder for bad guys to get guns, and fewer good guys will be motivated to get guns. The result is less gun violence.

Mike Knapp's picture

Threshold question is how that happens

The policy options AFAIC are second order. Yes there are troubling civil liberty issues with the no-fly piece, no question about it. The Intercept for example has done a great job investigating this front. However these concerns miss what is the more overarching, pressing point - the power of the NRA. What has become painfully clear is that the normal manner of procedure in Congress to move policy is fundementally broken. Expanded background checks was a non-starter. Listening to John Lewis it's pretty obvious he doesn't give a damn about watch lists. Maybe he should, but right now his concern is getting more power to break the deadbolt on the lock the NRA has latched on Congress. It's good organizing by someone who already helped crack the bolt on racist white supremacy. He gets it.

Somebody's picture

Yes, forcing the issue is the

Yes, forcing the issue is the right thing to do. The NRA has had continued success with delay and diversion, but I think they are running out of room. 'Thoughts and prayers,' mental health, terrorism, 'don't politicize it, it's too soon.' These are all diversionary tactics intended to point people away from the role of guns in the equation.

Interestingly, so was the confederate flag after the Charleston shooting. That was a highly successful diversion, but it threw a significantly overlapping constituency under the bus. The fact that they were willing to do that says a lot about how little wiggle room is left for these diversions.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Acclaimed watch list reporting by The Intercept

Thank-you for linking the Intercept piece, Mike. I should have done that a day or two ago.

For anyone unclear as to why the push-back against relying on these several terrorist lists (no-fly, selectee, and watch list) to enact tighter gun control, please read this well-known and much-cited report compiled by The Intercept in 2014--via classified documents offered by a member of the intelligence community.

The first thing you need to realize is that over 40% of people on the list (280,000 of them, as of two years ago) are described in the government's own reporting as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”

Also, the government adds names to its databases, or adds information on existing subjects, at a rate of 900 records each day. The no-fly list alone has grown ten-fold since Obama took office.

But says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent: “If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism.”

I encourage you to take a look at Mike's link to the report; again, that's here.

A_Falk's picture

i'm with the ACLU on this one.

i can't support gross racial profiling justified by a security-state stoking irrational fears of terrorism

often wish george W was still in office so partisan liberals would step back out of the security-hawk's nest.

i realize that more "traditional" gun regulation proposals are also a part of DNC platform, no criticism there, but this patriot act crap appealing to public fear of certain ethnic/religious groups craps the bed for me.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Media contributed to this fiasco, as well. I have spent far more time this last day or two than most people would, trying to track down specific, detailed coverage of the content of each of Dems' four bills but it's been impossible to pin down much of anything beyond the breathless banter about how gun control is necessary to thwart terrorism.

Over on the other thread I linked data from the 538 blog to attest that gun deaths attributable to terrorists averaged just 6 per year over the last 44 years--and just 6 of around 11,000 annually in recent years.

Readers/viewers deserved some context on where the real problem lies and what we need to do to address it.

So add media to my "disgusted" list, too.

(Waiting for Gallup's poll next week to tell us by how much the ranks of Independents grew this week.)

Stick's picture

Logic and Consistency

It's great that the Dem's are offering some common sense proposals, but the no-fly list is a due process nightmare. The Dems should not be using it for political theater. Full Stop.

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