Democrats took over the House floor on Wednesday, waving signs with photos of gun victims and chanting "No bill, no break," in an act of protest against Speaker Paul Ryan's refusal to hold a vote on a gun control bill in the wake of the Orlando massacre.
When Ryan tried to retake the floor late Wednesday night, Democrats shouted him down in a display unlike anything Washington insiders have ever seen.
The sit-in, as Democrats are calling it, is the latest of a series of moves this week to pressure Republicans into taking a vote on a gun violence measure that would prevent anyone on a terrorist watch list from buying a gun.
CSPAN cameras were turned off earlier in the day when the House went into recess, but coverage of the House floor is live on Periscope and CSPAN is carrying it live here.
"The time for silence and patience is long gone," Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and hero of the civil rights movement who is leading the sit-in, said in a stirring speech Wednesday morning. "The American people are demanding action. Do we have the courage, do we have the raw courage to make at least a down payment on ending gun violence in America?"
"Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary," Lewis said. "Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way." Then he and his fellow Democrats (about 25 at first, though it’s unclear if more have joined) sat down on the floor and began chanting "No bill, no break":
Proud to sit with @RepJoeCourtney and others demanding action. #GoodTrouble #NoBillNoBreak pic.twitter.com/SNMWlQ0ZfZ— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) June 22, 2016
The Senate voted on four gun control measures Monday, and all four failed to reach the 60-vote threshold required for cloture.