House Democrats staged protests last night in response to a moment of silence on the floor to remember the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
After Republican Speaker Paul Ryan led the House in the moment of silence in honor of the 49 people who died in the massacre on Sunday, the chamber erupted into shouting as Democrats expressed frustration over the lack of votes to restrict guns after repeated mass shootings. Democrats chanted.
“Where’s the bill? Where’s the bill!?“
Other Democrats shouted,
“Show some respect!“
Some lawmakers walked out of the House chamber even before the moment of silence began in protest, including Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.). Earlier in the day, Himes declared he would not participate in any more moments of silence as a form of protest over the lack of legislative responses to mass shootings.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters afterward.
“The fact is that a moment of silence is an act of respect, and we supported that. But it is a not a license to do nothing. Members have just had enough of having one minute, a moment of silence on the floor, and then take no action.“
After the moment of silence ended, Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) tried to seek recognition, a request Ryan denied.
Clyburn told reporters that he wanted to speak about the upcoming anniversary — this Friday — of the shooting at a historically black church in his district a year ago in Charleston, S.C. Clyburn said.
“I think that we have some appalling silence taking place in this body when we ought to be responding.“
Pelosi chided Ryan for denying Clyburn recognition, calling his move “really disrespectful.”
Democratic leaders want votes on three specific bills:
* legislation to close the so-called Charleston loophole, which allowed the shooter in that case to buy a gun after three days even though a background check was not completed
* prevent people who are on the FBI’s no-fly list from buying guns
* prohibit anyone convicted of a hate crime from purchasing firearms.
(via The Hill)