South Carolina’s lone Democratic congressman is among those involved in a sit-in on the US House floor to protest the lack of votes on gun control since this month’s Orlando nightclub shootings.
US Rep. Jim Clyburn, R-SC, and roughly 200 other House Democrats are sitting down in the chamber and speaking out of order to hold up proceedings until House Republicans agree to votes on several gun control measures. The sit-in lasted the entire afternoon, with minority party leaders threatening to continue it indefinitely.
Among the proposed bills is legislation to prevent those on the federal ‘No Fly” lists from purchasing guns. “We want the no-fly list to be honored in such a way that potential dangerous demented people would not be able to so casually purchase firearms,” Clyburn told reporters in a press conference outside the capitol.
House Republicans called a recess as Democratic members took over the floor chanting, “no bill, no break!” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called the move a “publicity stunt,” by Democratic members who know lack the votes to pass their proposals.
“This is not about a solution to a problem,” Ryan told CNN. “This is about trying to get attention.”
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators that includes South Carolina’s US Sen. Lindsey Graham spent Wednesday rallying support for a new proposal that would bar those on the federal “No Fly” list from buying guns. But, unlike the House Democrats’ plan, it would allow those prevented from purchasing a weapon to appeal their list placement in court.
The federal government does not identify how many people are on the “no-fly list.” Previous reporting on leaked documents in 2013 pinned the number as roughly 47,000 people — but fewer than 1,000 were Americans.
Members of Congress have taken a closer look at the link between terror suspect lists since the shootings at an Orlando nightclub earlier this month that killed 49 people. The suspect in that case had once been an FBI terror watch list, but was removed in 2014 after the agency closed its investigation of him. It does not appear he was ever on the “No Fly” list, however.