Dems stage dramatic sit-in on guns, GOP unmoved

In this image from video provided by House Television, House Speaker Paul Ryan stands at the podium as he brings the House into session Wednesday night, June 22, 2016, in Washington. Rebellious Democrats staged an extraordinary all-day sit-in on the House floor to demand votes on gun-control bills, shouting down Ryan when he attempted to restore order as their protest stretched into the night.

House Television via AP

A confrontation over gun control brought pandemonium to the House of Representatives overnight.

Civil rights campaigner John Lewis and other House Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor. It started before noon Wednesday, but there are still over 20 Democrats on the House floor.

Republican House leaders refused to bend to the Democrats' demand for a vote on new gun laws and tried to head this off by adjourning a day early for two weeks, but Democrats insist they're not going anywhere, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.

It started as a sit-in but by nightfall, Democrats were on their feet, holding up the names and pictures of Orlando victims as a crowd of supporters swelled in the gallery and outside.

"No bill, no break! No bill, no break!" they chanted.

House Democrats stage sit-in over gun control


They were able to disrupt business, but not stop it altogether. So they cast their votes on a series of unrelated measures and kept right on chanting.

According to House rules, once the gavel hits, the cameras turn off, so members used phones to stream the protest online.

At 11 p.m., one Republican, Louis Gohmert of Texas, decided he had had enough.

"Radical Islam killed these people. ISIS killed these people," Gohmert began shouting at the Democrats on the floor.

But Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis urged his colleagues not to give up.

Watch: House Democrats shout down Speaker Paul Ryan

"Don't let nobody... turn you around," Lewis said.

Outside the Capitol, Lewis joined other Democratic lawmakers, including minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

"I am afraid that the Republicans are going to try and sneak away in the dark of night," Pelosi said. "We are tired of moments of silence that only lead to other moments of silence. We want action, we want a vote. We want to protect the American people."

But Speaker Paul Ryan was unmoved by the spectacle, earlier saying they won't get the gun vote they want.

Paul Ryan: Democrats' sit-in a "publicity stunt"

"I would tell you, this is nothing more than a publicity stunt," Ryan told CNN. "They know we will not bring a bill that takes away a person's constitutionally guaranteed rights without due process."

Congressman Lewis compared the sit-in to another struggle for civil rights.

"It took us three times to make it all the way from Selma to Montgomery," Lewis said. "We have other bridges to cross and when we come back in July, we'll start all over again."

Democrats aren't pushing for a major legislation. They seek a vote on fairly narrow legislation that prevents people on the no-fly list from being able to buy a gun.

A similar bill in the Senate failed on Monday. When CBS News asked one congresswoman how long she plans to keep this up and she said, "Well, I brought a suitcase."