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Illinois Lawmakers Join U.S. House Sit-In For Gun Control

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 22, 2016 5:18PM

Twitter / Jan Schakowsky

Democratic members of the U.S. House are holding a sit-in on the House floor to protest how lawmakers haven't taken action to combat gun violence.

In the wake of the mass shooting in an Orlando gay nightclub on June 12, national Democratic lawmakers have advocated for more stringent federal gun control laws, most notably evidenced by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy's nearly 15 hour filibuster, the eight-longest in U.S. Senate history. Illinois lawmakers similarly made their positions known Wednesday with a grand gesture, as Representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL 2nd District) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District) joined colleagues for a sit-in on the House Floor. They are urging Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan to hear votes regarding stronger background checks and the prevention of people on the FBI's No Fly and Selectee Lists from buying firearms.

House Democrats sent a letter to Ryan prior to the action, excerpted here:
"As the worst mass shooting our nation's history has underscored, our country cannot afford to stand by while this Congress continues to be paralyzed by politics. We urge you to lead the House into action and work with both sides of the aisle to pass commonsense solutions to keep American children and families safe."

There is broad agreement among Americans—greater than 90 percent by some measures—that expanding background checks for firearms purchases is a reasonable measure for this Congress to pass. An overwhelming majority also agree that we should enact safety measures that keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists."

The sit-in was coordinated by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). He was joined by dozens of colleagues near the House podium, including Kelly and Schakowsky. Recess was called shortly after the representatives sat down; as of noon on Wednesday the session was still in recess. A live feed of proceedings is available here.

Rep. Scott Peters began streaming the protest after the Republican-controlled House called a recess and ended the official broadcast. His Periscope stream can be viewed here.