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US House Democrats stage sit-down protest in dispute over guns

Published:Wednesday | June 22, 2016 | 6:25 AM
House Democrats hold sit-in to try to force gun control vote.

WASHINGTON (AP):
House Democrats staged a sit-down protest today, seeking a vote on gun control measures following the Orlando nightclub shooting.

A group of about 30 Democrats led by Georgia Republican John Lewis demanded a vote on measures to expand background checks and block gun purchases by some suspected terrorists, before sitting down and "occupying" the House floor.

The group demanded that House Speaker Paul Ryan keep the House in session through its planned week-long recess next week to debate and vote on gun legislation.

Republican John Larson of Connecticut said lawmakers were "calling for the simple dignity of a vote."

"Our country cannot afford to stand by while this Congress continues to be paralysed by politics," he added.

Larson and other Democrats cited polls showing broad public support for expanding background checks for firearms purchases and blocking suspected terrorists from buying guns.

"Rise up Democrats, rise up Americans," Larson said. "We will occupy this chamber."

Republican Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said, "We will not be shut up. We will not be shut down."

The House was not in session when the Democrats held the demonstration. Republican leaders ordered C-SPAN cameras turned off.