Democrats end more than 25-hour sit-in to force gun law reforms

Democrats ended a sit-in Thursday more than 25 hours after occupying the floor of the US House of Representatives to demand action on tougher gun laws.

The lawmakers had begun the effort Wednesday and continued overnight, even after the majority of Republicans put the chamber into summer recess shortly before 3 am Thursday (0700 GMT), after briefly retaking control of the floor.

The move came amid demands for action on tighter gun laws following the latest mass shooting at a gay nightclub last week in Orlando, Florida, by a US-born attacker pledging allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group.

The Democrats had hoped to prevent Congress from taking a recess without voting on a measure to keep people on a no-fly list from buying guns, but vowed to continue despite the setback.

Congressman John Lewis, who led the effort, declared in closing remarks that the struggle would continue and "we're going to win."

"Our people are with us, not just in our districts, but people all over America and around the world," he said before leading the lawmakers out of the chamber.

US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, dismissed the sit-in as a publicity stunt staged for fundraising purposes.

Ryan said in a press conference just before the sit-in ended that the action was disrespectful to the institution and a distraction to lawmakers trying to do their jobs.

Unlike the Senate, there is no formal mechanism for lawmakers in the House of Representatives to hold the floor indefinitely.

The Senate on Monday failed to pass a series of tougher gun laws aimed at preventing suspected terrorists from getting guns.

On Thursday, the Senate considered separate Republican-sponsored measures that would ban those on the no-fly list from buying guns but provide checks on the process. One of the proposals survived a procedural hurdle but looked unlikely to garner enough votes to advance, while the other was effectively killed.

Nancy Pelosi, leader of the minority Democrats in the lower House, called for a vote on bipartisan legislation to keep those on the watch list from buying guns and for stricter background checks on gun buyers.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25
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