Democrats' sit-in at US House ends without vote on gun-control Bills
UNITED States Democrats failed to force Congress to vote on gun-safety legislation following the Orlando nightclub massacre as Republican leaders adjourned the House early yesterday after a dramatic overnight sit-in by Democrats.
The scenes on the House floor, unprecedented in recent history, began after Democrats took over the chamber's proceedings for most of the day.
Republican Speaker Paul Ryan, who dismissed the protest as a "publicity stunt", refused to allow votes on two Bills demanded by Democrats: one expanding background checks to include sales at gun shows and on the Internet, and another that prevents people on the government's no-fly list or Federal Bureau of Investigation terror watchlists from buying a gun.
Democrats shouted: "No Bill, no break!" referring to efforts to prevent Congress from adjourning for the Fourth of July holiday.
"The time for silence and patience is long gone," said Democrat John Lewis, a civil-rights icon who marched with Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s and led Wednesday's protest.
"We're calling on the leadership of the House to bring common-sense gun-control legislation to the House floor.
"Give us a vote!" he added.
After another vote in the early hours of yesterday morning - on fighting the Zika virus - 15 hours after the sit-in began, the presiding officer adjourned the session for two weeks and Republicans began leaving the building.
Democratic House whip Steny Hoyer said the protest had sent a "powerful message".
Accusing Republicans of "slinking off in the middle of the night", he added that "the fight will continue when the House comes back in session" on July 5.
US lawmakers, mainly Democrats, introduced several Bills in recent years aimed at reducing gun violence but none has passed Congress.