GOP Turns Off C-Span Cameras as Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Leads Sit-In for Gun Control on House Floor

Human Rights

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is fed up with America's rampant gun violence.

“I ask that all of my colleagues join me on the floor," Lewis announced, when he took the podium Wednesday to lead a sit-in against Congress's inaction in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre.

Lewis lamented that the Republican-led House is unlikely to pass gun reform following the Orlando massacre and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)'s 15-hour filibuster last week.

“For months, even years, I asked myself, ‘what would bring this body to take action?’" Lewis said. "We have lost hundreds of thousands of innocent people to gun violence… and what has this body done? Not one thing."

After Murphy's filibuster, the Senate rejected four gun control measures, voting against the expansion of background checks for gun sales. They also opposed legislation barring Americans on the terror watch list from the purchase of firearms. 

“We have turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent and the concern of our nation. Where is the heart of this body? Where is our soul? Where is our moral leadership? Where is our courage?" Lewis asked. 

Lewis also emphasized the need for bipartisanship, and an end to "obstructionism."

“Newtown, Aurora, Charleston, Orlando… What is the tipping point, Mr. Speaker? This is the fight. We are calling on the leadership of the House to bring commonsense gun control legislation to the House floor," Lewis announced. "Let us vote! We came here to do our job! We can no longer wait. Now, today! Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time for silence is over."

Lewis vows to "Occupy the Floor" until action is taken.

House Speaker Paul Ryan responded to the sit-in by shutting off the cameras and ordering the representatives break for lunch. However, some representatives continued to live stream. 

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