House Democrats stood up on the floor of the chamber Tuesday and staged a sit-in to force a vote on gun violence.
C-Span / Via youtube.com
Civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis of Georgia led the group of Democrats in sitting on the chamber floor.
“We have turned deaf ears to the blood of the innocent and the concerns of our nation,” Lewis said while surrounded by his fellow Democrats.
“How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something?” he said to the nods and murmurs of the people around him.
“There comes a time when you have to make a little noise,” Lewis said, banging his fist on the podium, “Now is the time to get in the way. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over!”
Shortly after they sat down, the House went to recess and the cameras were turned off. Because the House was not formally gaveled into session, the sit-in was not being televised. The House studio has control of the cameras inside, according to C-SPAN who clarified that the network was not responsible for the lost feed.
Democrats continued to broadcast their protest on Twitter.
On Monday, four gun policy measures failed to pass the 60-vote threshold to move from the House to the Senate, following a 15-hour filibuster by Senate Democrats who demanded action on gun control.
The votes came in the wake of the deadly massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida, in which a man shot and killed 49 people — the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.
Watch Lewis’ full speech below: