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#NoBillNoBreak: Democrats Demand Gun Reforms

A photo tweeted from the floor of the U.S. House by Rep. Donna Edwards (R) shows Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including herself and Rep. John Lewis (L) staging a sit-in on the House floor. (REUTERS/Rep. Donna Edwards/Handout)
#NoBillBreak: Democrats Demand Gun Reforms
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U.S. Congressional Democrats have been demanding that the House of Representatives votes on gun-control legislation.

The Democratic Party lawmakers began the protest on Wednesday.

Congressman John Lewis of Georgia asked House Democrats to join him in a sit-in on the House floor to force a vote. Lewis was active in America’s civil rights movement, and took part in non-violent sit-in protests half a century ago.

The protest on the House floor continued through the night and into Thursday afternoon. The lawmakers held up pieces of paper with the names of gun violence victims. They spoke about the country’s need for stronger gun control measures.

The U.S. Senate rejected four proposed gun measures earlier this week. The four bills were offered after the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Forty-nine people died in the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The House of Representatives was supposed to suspend work this week until after the Fourth of July, a U.S. government holiday. But angry Democrats demanded that the House vote on gun-control bills before it closed for Independence Day. They shouted, “no bill, no break!”

The hashtag #nobillnobreak trended for more than 24 hours on Facebook and Twitter.

The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, ordered that television cameras on the house floor be turned off. Without cameras recording their protest, the lawmakers turned to social media live-streaming tools, like Facebook Live and Periscope, to film the protest.

After the cameras were turned off, the congressional television channel, C-SPAN, began showing the lawmakers’ Facebook Live videos of the protest on TV.

And Periscope created a channel for users to watch all of the #nobillnobreak videos.

The House officially adjourned on Thursday, without voting on gun-control measures. Lawmakers will return to work after the July 4th holiday.

John Lewis spoke to reporters after he and the House Democrats ended their protest Thursday afternoon. “The fight is not over,” he said. “This is just one step.”

I’m Pete Musto.

Ashley Thompson wrote this report with materials from the Associated Press and George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

sit-in - n. a kind of protest in which demonstrators occupy a place and refuse to leave until their demands are met

gay - adj. used by those who are sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex

nightclub - n. a place that is open at night, has music, dancing, or a show, and usually serves alcoholic drinks and food

adjourn - v. to end something (such as a meeting or session) for a period of time

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