“If we’re breaking one rule, we might as well break a lot of them.”
According to Representative Emanuel Cleaver, these were the words uttered by Congressman John Lewis just moments after House Speaker Paul Ryan adjourned the House of Representatives and shut down it’s live feed to C-Span, cutting the public off from the unusual happenings that were taking place within the House Chambers.
Naturally led by Representative Lewis, who doubles an American icon known for his storied involvement in the Civil Rights movement, a little over 200 Democrats were in the process of staging a good ‘ol-fashioned sit-n in response to the Senates’s previous failure to pass 4 proposed pieces of any legislature proposed on gun control when House Speaker Ryan and other Republicans adjourned the session and attempted to flee the pandemonium taking place within the chamber.
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 22, 2016
Beginning Wednesday morning, only one week after their colleagues in the Senate conducted a 15-hour filibuster until votes on gun control measures were scheduled, House Democrats launched the protest that would last just over 25 hours , going on to give impassioned speeches and lead rallying cries stressing the importance of gun control restrictions, specifically calling for “No Fly, No Buy” legislation that would put gun ownership restrictions on individuals on federal terror watchlists.
“I wondered, what would bring this body to take action?” said Lewis, channeling his years of leadership and activism which began with his history as a young man marching alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “What is right, what is just for the people of this country? They have lost hundreds and thousands of innocent people to gun violence. What has this body done? Nothing. Not one thing.”
What began as an odd form of protest quickly turned into a hostile standoff between House Republicans and Democrats as Republicans attempted to conduct business as usual in the midst of the ongoing protest. It was 3 A.M. on Thursday morning that House Speaker Ryan took to the floor to call a vote on a bill that called for the $1.1 billion in emergency funding to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus and another $80 billion in other government spending, all while attempting to restore order over the determined Democrats chanting “No Bill, No Break!” while waving papers with the names of gun violence victims in the air.
— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) June 23, 2016
Democrats were left in control of the chamber, using Persiscope as their outlet as they continued their bout, with C-Span eventually picking up on the Periscope feed, broadcasting it live for all to see–a broadcast that emphasized the actions that only served to mirror the inflamed emotions of millions across the nation surrounding the issue of gun control.
It was around noon Thrusday that schools of Democrats finally began pouring from out of the Chamber, some with pillows and blankets in hand, branding their mission as complete.
“While the Americans don’t always expect us to win, they do expect us to fight,” said Rep. Al Green inside the chamber, just moments before where a few dozen remaining Democrats continued to stretch out the cause. “We demonstrated to the American people why we can’t get votes on common sense safety measures.”