The battle over gun control heated up again following the Orlando massacre but ended abruptly Thursday morning with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan dismissing members until July 5. It seems both sides are sticking to party lines and are unable to find a middle ground. Several bills regarding gun control were blocked this week, even as CNN/ORC polls shows growing support by the public for tighter background checks.
House Democrats were pushing a bill that would expand background checks and prevent those on the no-fly list from purchasing guns. Frustrated with the lack of votes and support for their bill, the party staged a filibuster and sit-in. Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who began the sit-in, was ironically once involved in a mix-up that landed him on the terror watch list. This week’s sit-in turned into a social media happening, as some Democrats took to live streaming to Periscopes and Twitter/Facebook updates to keep the public abreast once camera’s in the house were turned off.
Republicans have accused House Democrats of turning the sit-in into a political stunt and used it to raise funds for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Nancy Pelosi called on supporters, saying, “I need 6,000 gifts in the door during tonight’s sit-in. Will you pitch in $1?” Republicans concerns with the gun control bills introduced are focused on protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and ensuring that due process is not deprived. Rep. Mark Walker from North Carolina made the point that the Democrats are sitting-in to strip people’s rights away, not ensure rights are given or protected.
Susan Collins, a Republican Senator from Maine, expressed frustration as her efforts to find bipartisan support for legislation she introduced that would ban gun sales to people on the terror watch list was given a large blow with this week’s protests.
Both sides have vowed to return from the holiday break with a renewed sense of purpose and continue the fight for gun control legislation.