Originally Posted: June 23, 2016
After a sit-in that lasted more than a day, House Democrats walked out of the Capitol on Thursday without any scheduled votes on gun control, which had been their goal in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida nightclub.
“It’s a new dawn and a new day in our fight,” said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The Democrats sat on the floor of the House, and members spoke for more than 24 hours. They are calling for background checks on every gun sale and banning gun sales to anyone on a no-fly or terror watch list.
In a very chaotic scene that broke protocol on the floor, Democrats screamed as House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called for a vote on a matter unrelated to the gun issue during the sit-in.
Ryan called the sit-in a publicity stunt, but U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, who was on the floor for the demonstration, disagrees.
“I think this is awful to call this a publicity stunt when you talk about the lives that have been lost, when you are talking about the public safety of America,” said Veasey.
Lawmakers pleaded with the public to call their representatives to ask for a vote. NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine checked with members of the Texas delegation about this.
Veasey’s office said their phone was ringing off the hook. Most other representatives said they have heard from voters, too, but some say they have heard more from voters who are against more gun regulation.
“We have never seen this takeover of the floor. It reminded me of what other countries, third-world countries, do in their legislative bodies, not the United States. A true disappointment,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.
Cal Jillson, professor of politics at Southern Methodist University, believes the Democrats did accomplish something.
“Well, at the end of the day it increases the visibility of these gun issues, and to the Democrats’ benefit and the Republicans’ detriment, because about 85 percent of the American public believe it makes sense to have gun control – stop someone on a terrorist watch list who couldn’t get on an airplane from buying a gun,” Jillson said. “The Republicans are saying, ‘No, that’s too strict,’ the public is saying, ‘What, that’s too strict? These are potential terrorists.'”
“The Republican argument is that people can get on the watch list wrongly, but a lot of people are on there are on there rightly rather than wrongly. And so the Republicans are in a very difficult position on the terrorist watch list issue and the greater scrutiny of guns bought at gun shows,” Jillson added. READ MORE