Coachella Valley Region
Sit-ins are not terribly rare in Washington, but rarely, if ever has one happened on the floor of the house of representatives. Representatives packed blankets and pillows to get ready for a long night.
Democratic lawmakers launched an extraordinary protest. Staging an unusual sit-in on the house floor, bringing legislative business to a complete stop and sparking a chaotic showdown demanding a vote on gun control. "Someone asked me earlier whether or not we were going to retire for the evening, I said you may retire in the morning, but I think we are going to work through the evening," Representative James Clyburn said.
Congressman John Lewis, who is a veteran of the civil rights movement, led the demonstration demanding new measures. Among other things, it would allow for federally funded gun-violence research and ban people on the terrorist watch list from getting firearms. Congressman Raul Ruiz also joined his colleagues to force the house vote. "I believe that drastic times need bold action and we demand speaker Ryan to simply let us vote for the bill that would not allow terrorists to purchase guns,” Congressman Ruiz said. “They could vote no if they want to, but let us vote," he added.
Democratic lawmakers took turns for hours and hours talking about gun violence that caused mass shootings across the country. Speaker Paul Ryan was left with the choice of confronting the protest, or hoping the storm blew over. "The chair appreciates that members will differ on matters of policy and will seek to express those differences," he said.
Ryan took control nearly eleven hours later. He and Republicans called the sit-in a publicity stunt. "That was already defeated in senate, this is not a way to bring up legislation,” he said.