Democratic Reps. stage sit in- inside Congress - for action on gun legislation

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who began the Sit In with Congressman John Lewis and a dozen of her colleagues, remaind there until dawn trying to get Republicans to agree to vote on guns. Courtesy photo

Republicans hold quick series of votes at 3:00 am and adjourn Congress until after July 4

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree remained on the floor of the US House of Representatives throughout the night, as Democrats occupied the chamber to demand action on common sense gun legislation.

The Sit-In by congressional leaders marks a new chapter in US history. Democratic Reps. fustrated by rules that have held their hands tied couldn't sit by and do nothing after the last massacure of innocent people by an assult weapon. The political party with the most Reps. controls what bills are discussed and voted on. Republicans, in the majority, had refused to bring common sense gun legislation to the floor of the chambor to be voted on.

Pingree, who began the sit in with Congressman John Lewis and a dozen of her colleagues, had been in the chamber constantly since 9:00 am yesterday morning. When Speaker Paul Ryan suddenly adjourned the House and declared an early start to the July 4th recess a little after 3:00 this morning.

"The Republicans left town in the middle of the night without taking action on common sense gun legislation supported by the vast majority of Americans," Pingree said.  "The public is demanding action and what House Democrats have been doing is merely an expression of the will of the people.  It's democracy in action.  What the Republicans have done is just the opposite of that."

Pingree spoke forcefully yesterday morning on the need to close a loophole that allows people on the Terrorist Watch List or the No Fly List to buy guns (video is here) and was followed by a few of her colleagues.  When Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis spoke just after 11:00 am, Pingree and about a dozen other Democrats joined him at the front of the House chamber and sat on the floor in protest, demanding a vote on the terrorist loophole bill and another proposal to expand background checks.

Early this morning, Speaker Paul Ryan rushed through bills not related to gun violence.  Amidst chants of "no bill, no break," Ryan refused to allow debate on the bills before holding a quick series of vote and then adjourning the House until after the 4th of July holiday. 

Pingree was still on the House floor at sunrise this morning, as Democrat leaders vowed to continue the fight when Congress returns next month.