The Results of the House Sit-In on Gun Reform

June 22nd 2016

Kyle Jaeger

As the House sit-in on gun reform entered its seventh hour on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) indicated that he would not allow a vote on a measure calling for more comprehensive background checks during an interview with CNN.

House sit-in

"[T]his is nothing more than a publicity stunt — that’s point number one," Ryan said. "Point number two is this bill was already defeated in the United States Senate. Number three, we are not going to take away a citizen's due process rights — we’re not going to take away a citizen’s constitutional rights without due process."

With these comments, Ryan is speaking not only from a pro-Second Amendment perspective, but also referencing arguments that the government's terror watch lists are poorly conceived, and violate civil liberties

"That was already defeated in the Senate and this is not a way to try to bring up legislation," Ryan added.

House Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), organized a sit-in on the House floor on Wednesday to protest congressional inaction on gun reform following the Orlando mass shooting. This development comes days after Senate Democrats filibustered for a vote on four gun reform measures, all of which were defeated on Monday.

House leadership is responsible for deciding which measures receive votes. The sit-in was meant to force Ryan's hand so that the House would have an opportunity to vote on a bill restricting the ability of individuals on the government's various watch lists from buying firearms. Though the sit-in continues, Ryan's dismissal of the action as a "publicity stunt" doesn't bode well for House Democrats.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes reports that House Republicans plan to disrupt the sit-in by calling for a vote on an unrelated bill at 8 PM (CST).

Ryan told CNN that lawmakers should focus their efforts on preventing future terrorist attacks rather than reforming gun laws. He cited the failure of the Senate to pass any of the four gun reform measures proposed as a reason the House will not take up a vote on the issue.

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