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Democrats Stage Sit-In On House Floor To Protest Inaction On Guns

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Last week, Senate Democrats staged a talkathon to press that chamber to vote on gun control measures. Today, House Democrats tried a different tactic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The House will be in order.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

That sound in the background - Democrats chanting no bill, no break. Well, the House did break. A spokesperson for Speaker Paul Ryan says it can't operate unless members follow protocol. But Democrats didn't leave. They sat down on the House floor and staged a sit-in, led by Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a veteran civil rights leader.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING0

JOHN LEWIS: We're calling on the leadership of the House to bring common sense gun control legislation to the House floor. Let us vote. We came here to do our job. We came here to work.

CORNISH: The Democrats are demanding a vote on two gun control bills before House members leave Washington Sunday. One measure would prevent people on the No Fly List from buying guns. The other would expand background checks for firearm purchases. Similar proposals failed in the Senate earlier this week.

MCEVERS: Cameras are not allowed to roll while the House is out of session, so Democrats are recording themselves with their phones and posting the videos to Facebook and Periscope. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.