In an unprecedented move in modern political history, Democrats took over the floor of the House of Representatives in an effort to force the Republicans to allow a vote on gun-control legislation. Since 11:25 a.m. ET Wednesday morning (June 22), various party leaders have held a sit-in with a series of impassioned speeches.
Led by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, over 170 Democrats joined the sit-in. "We can no longer wait," Lewis said from the House floor. "We can no longer be patient. So today, we come to the well of the House to dramatize the need for action. Not next month, not next year, but now—today. Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way.
"We have been too quiet for too long," he added. "There comes a time when you have to say something. You have to make a little noise. You have to move your feet. This is the time."
A number of celebrities also joined the #NoBillNoBreak chorus with tweets of support.
I am proud of all of the Democrats in the House who will not leave until there is a vote to curb gun violence. Stay strong! #NoBillNoBreak— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) June 23, 2016
NOW: Dozens of House champs stage historic sit-in on House floor to demand a vote on gun safety. text DEMAND ACTION to 644-33 to support— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) June 22, 2016
Rad civil disobedience by the reps that are actually repping US https://t.co/JRsaI8NGYZ— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) June 22, 2016
Thank you John Lewis for leading on gun violence where we need it most. https://t.co/vctfqAH5Wt— President Obama (@POTUS44) June 22, 2016
This is what real leadership looks like. https://t.co/4Nh6QpqSxL— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 22, 2016
Republicans attempted to silence their left-leaning counterparts by shutting off the cameras inside the chambers, however, Periscope was used the broadcast from inside, though normally a strict no-no, in desperate times, desperate measures are called upon.
Democrat leaders suggested they would go til at least 11:15 a.m. ET to ensure 24-hours of protest, but it's unclear if that is the plan or just an initial idea.