Rep. John Lewis leads more than 200 Democrats on June 22 in demanding a vote on measures to expand background checks and block gun purchases by some suspected terrorists. "We have to occupy the floor of the House until there is action," Lewis, a civil rights icon who marched with Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, said before he and dozens of colleagues sat down on the carpeted well of the chamber.
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Rebellious Democrats shut down the House's legislative work on June 22, staging a sit-in on the House floor and refusing to leave until they secured a vote on gun control measures before lawmakers' week-long break. The dramatic action came just as the House presiding officer moved to declare the body in recess.
A photo shot and tweeted from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives shows Democratic members of the House staging a sit-in. Legislators turned to Twitter's Periscope and Facebook's live video platform to broadcast their "sit-in" after the chamber's cameras shut down and microphones cutoff. C-SPAN communications director Howard Mortman said it was the first time the channel broadcast a live social media feed from the House floor.
"The House controls the cameras and that means they control the camera angles, the audio, video, the whole thing," Mortman said. "We're using social media platforms to show what's happening."
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A crowd of people gather outside the Capitol in in support of Democratic members of Congress working for tighter gun laws.
At around 10 p.m., House Speaker gavels the House into session Wednesday night. The sit-in was well into its 10th hour, with Democrats camped out on the floor stopping legislative business in the House, when Ryan stepped to the podium to gavel the House into session and hold votes on routine business.
Angry Democrats chanted "No bill, no break!" and waved pieces of paper with the names of gun victims, continuing their protest in the well of the House even as the House voted on a previously scheduled and unrelated measure to overturn an Obama veto.
Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., speaks to supporters of House Democrats taking part in a sit-in outside the U.S. Capitol early on June 23. House Republicans attempted to end the 16-hour sit-in by Democrats early Thursday morning by adjourning for a recess through July 5. At 7:15 a.m. ET Thursday, a handful of Democrats remained on the House floor.
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