House Democrats ended their sit-in protest which just passed the 24-hour mark, reports CNN.
Only hours before, a fight nearly broke out on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives as the Democratic protest of inaction on gun control lasted more than 25 hours.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican, attempted to disrupt the demonstration by blaming the Pulse nightclub shooting, which claimed the lives of 49 people, on the gunman’s alleged religion. Shortly before opening fire on the Florida gay club, 29-year-old Omar Mateen called 911, in which he allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“Radical Islam killed these people!” Gohmert yelled around 11pm. “ISIS killed these people!"
Rep. Corrine Brown, a Florida Democrat who represents Orlando, Jackson, and Gainsville, had to be separated from Gohmert following a confrontation, as the Associated Press reports.
Prior to the confrontation, Brown called on Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, to allow legislators to vote on “No Fly, No Buy” legislation, which would make it more difficult for those on federal terrorist watchlists to purchase firearms.
She stated in a Wednesday press release those bills have now been blocked by Congress 13 times.
“Congress must not leave Washington, D.C. without voting on common sense gun violence prevention legislation to save lives,” Brown said. “Mass shootings have become unacceptably commonplace in our country, and it is clearer than ever that we have a responsibility to do more to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
That legislation was voted down again in the House Monday, along with a bill that would expand background checks. “We're not going to take away a citizen's constitutional rights without due process,” Ryan told CNN.
He further called the Wednesday demonstrations, which commenced at 11:29 a.m., a “publicity stunt.”
Tensions have continued to run high as Democrats have threatened to stay the course until Congress votes on gun control legislation. House Dems, joined by Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, staged a sit-in in by blocking votes on other measures. They chanted, “No bill, no break!”
The cry referred to the upcoming legislative recess, with Congress in recess for the July 4 holiday. The U.S. legislature adjourned at 3:15 a.m., but 16 Democrats remained on the House floor as of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the AP.
These protesters included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as Rep. Al Green, and Rep. Maxine Waters.
“While the Americans don't always expect us to win, they do expect us to fight,” Green told reporters, while crowds gathered outside the Capitol in the early hours of the morning to support the sit-in. “We demonstrated to the American why we can't get votes on common sense safety measures.”
Others said that the sit-in is a sign of things to come.
Rep. Katherine Clark told the Washington Post that the protest “gave us all the resolve and the grit and determination to see this through when we are back in July.” Rep. Maxine Clark added that in the meantime, she isn’t going anywhere. Clark said, “I am willing to stay here until hell freezes over.”