On Thursday afternoon, House Republicans announced they were indefinitely delaying a vote on a gun-related bill proposed after the Orlando shooting. In response, Democrats lined up on the House floor to read names of gun victims and to demand a vote on background checks.
“Michael Brown never received a moment of silence on the House floor,” Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) said, repeating a line that each Democrat recited, replacing the name of a different gun violence victim from their district. The lawmakers held photos of the victims as they recited the same request for unanimous consent to bring up the bipartisan expanded background check legislation, before handing the floor to their next colleague in line.
— Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) July 7, 2016
“Mr. Speaker, what are you afraid of?” Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) pleaded during his time at the podium.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who held the floor and granted time to each of his colleagues, repeated throughout the proceedings that the names could continue. “Would that we run out of victims, but tragically that’s not the case,” he said.
The Democrats are demanding a vote on HR 1217, which would expand background checks on gun sales to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows and over the internet.
The vote that was scheduled for this week but that Republicans delayed was on a separate package, the Homeland Safety and Security Act, which would notify the attorney general when a person who has been investigated for terrorism in the last five years tries to buy a firearm. But it would have also meant instructing the government to set up a department to focus on the “ideology” of “radical Islamist terrorism.”
Democrats opposed that legislation because it did not go far enough to expand gun safety and because it was backed by the National Rifle Association. Hard-line GOP conservatives also came out against the bill because of concerns about due process rights.
Thursday’s action comes two weeks after House Democrats held a 25-hour sit-in on the floor to demand a vote on the same legislation or on legislation to ban people on the terror watch list from buying firearms.
This post will be updated as the House proceedings continue.