LOS ANGELES — Some Southland legislators were among dozens of Democrats taking part in a sit-in at the House of Representatives June 22, bringing congressional activity to a halt while they demanded a vote on a gun-control measure in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
“The American people are sick of silence,” said Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro. “They are demanding that Congress take action and protect their families. This nation has just witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in history and more people are dying every day. If we do not take action now, when will we?
“Inaction is tantamount to being complicit in the next attack,” she said. “I cannot stand for that.”
The sit-in was led by Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who walked into the House chamber before noon and was joined by four dozen other Democrats who vowed to continue the sit-in until Republicans moved forward with a vote on gun-control legislation.
Democrats are pushing for legislation known as the “no fly, no buy” bill, barring people on the national no-fly list from being able to purchase guns.
The sit-in gained the attention of the White House, with President Barack Obama posting on Twitter, “Thank you John Lewis for leading on gun violence where we need it most.”
The action, however, did not appear likely to sway Republicans to vote on the issue.
AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, issued a statement saying, “The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair.”
Democrats in the U.S. Senate staged a filibuster last week to push for a vote on gun legislation. Senators eventually held votes June 20 on four pieces of proposed legislation, all of which failed.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, was among those taking part in the sit-in, saying at one point that Republicans “don’t have the guts” to take on the “gun lobby.”
Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, also joined the protest, along with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank.
Schiff announced his participation on Twitter, using the hashtags #EnoughIsEnough and #NoBillNoBreak.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, applauded the sit-in and said he was honored to take part.
“Since the Orlando massacre, the worst mass shooting in our history, 500 more Americans have been the victims of gun violence,” Lieu said. “Enough is enough.”