U.S. House Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor yesterday. U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, was among several Illinois representatives sitting on the chamber floor in front of the Speaker’s empty podium.
Their protest comes two days after four pieces of gun control legislation were blocked Monday in the U.S. Senate. Bustos called the proposals “common sense” measures that are long overdue.
“Every time we have a mass shooting, we stand up and have a moment of silence and nothing is done,” Bustos said. "We haven’t even been given the courtesy of debating these issues that are so important.
“Too many mothers and fathers have lost their children to gun violence and they deserve more than thoughts and prayers, they deserve action,” she added. “Americans are sick of inaction from Republicans in Washington, and they deserve a vote on common sense proposals to protect our families.”
One of the bills -- H.R. 1076, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, or the "No Fly / No Buy" bill -- would prevent anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a deadly weapon. Another key piece of legislation is H.R. 1217, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, which would require criminal background checks on all gun sales to prevent violent offenders from getting deadly weapons.
Democratic lawmakers are demanding that Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan keep the House in session through next week to call up the legislation for debate and a vote.
“The American public is crying out for this. I think when you have five- and six-year-old children who were slaughtered while they were going to their elementary school, if that wasn’t enough, not enough to do something, I don’t know what in the heck is,” Bustos said, referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 that left 20 children dead.
Because the Republican Majority put the House in recess to turn off CSPAN's cameras during the sit-in protest, Bustos -- as a former journalist -- took it upon herself to start interviewing members of Congress on her Snapchat account: repcheri on SnapChat.