An Old Fashion Protest to Pass Common Sense Legislation

An Old Fashion Protest to Pass Common Sense Legislation
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Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is leading a sit in today on the floor of the House of Representatives, joined by more than a dozen Democrats, demanding that House Republicans allow a vote on gun violence prevention legislation before the House adjourns for a week-long break. The sit-in follows Sen. Chris Murphy's (D-Conn.) 15-hour filibuster on gun control last week.

Specifically, Lewis and company want Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to keep the House in session and bring up pending proposals that were slated for Monday morning. “No bill, no break!” they chanted. After Ryan declared a recess, which shut down C-Span cameras, one lawmaker began covering the sit-in on Periscope, which was picked up by C-Span.

The four bills restrict gun purchases by expanding background checks to guns purchased at gun shows, and ban gun sales to people on the no-fly list. Lewis gave a speech on the House floor earlier this week, saying:

“Deadly mass shootings are becoming more and more frequent. Mr. Speaker, this is a fact. It is not an opinion.”

Over four years ago, we lost 20 children and six adults when Adam Lanza attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Eight years ago, 32 people were killed and 17 injured in the Virginia Tech massacre. And one week ago, Omar Mateen murdered 49 people and injured another 53 at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando -- the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history. In six of the last nine mass shootings over the last year, the assailants used semi-automatic rifles designed for the military, according to one report.

The bills pending in the house don’t address a ban on these weapons. They address common sense: If a terror suspect is too dangerous to be allowed to fly in a commercial airplane, how does it possibly make sense to allow him or her to buy firearms? If we think background checks are a reasonable idea at gun stores, why shouldn’t that extend to gun shows?

There have been more than 100 gun control proposals since 2011 and not one of them has passed. Very few have even made it to the House and Senate floor. I hope Speaker of the House Ryan listens to the Democrats at the sit-in and recognizes that the time has come for something to be done.

As Lewis said, “Where is our soul? Where is our courage? Give us a vote. Let us vote. We came here to do our jobs. We came here to work. The American people are demanding action.”

The American people, are demanding common sense.

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