Illinois Democrats Weigh In On The Congressional Sit-In | WBEZ
Skip to main content

Morning Shift

Rep. Robin Kelly Weighs In On The Congressional Sit-In

Weary but defiant Democrats commandeered the House floor Thursday morning, demanding gun-control votes in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre in an almost 26-hour long protest broadcast live to the world -- via social media. 

What? You were asleep? Here's a brief rundown of what Illinois lawmakers put out there:

"We Were Elected To Lead": 188 Democrats Take The Floor

The protest began around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday (but to get caught up, take a trip back to Monday). Most of the 188 took turns speaking, joined by dozens of Senate Democrats, and of course, more speaking.

The sit-in, a push to "Disarm Hate" with Rep. John Lewis playing a lead role, had the look of a 1960s-style protest.

Almost #tbt. @repjohnlewis (center seated) // 1965 sit in @GettyImages

— Amita Kelly (@_amita_) June 23, 2016

Eventually, Republicans shut off the cameras, but Democrats used their cellphones to capture the action. In an unprecedented move, C-SPAN carried the feeds live via Periscope and Facebook.

LIVE on #Periscope

— Scott Peters (@ScottPetersSD) June 22, 2016

LIVE on #Periscope

— Scott Peters (@ScottPetersSD) June 23, 2016

Honored to share Blair Holt's story on the House floor #sitin #NoBillNoBreak #NoFlyNoBuy #holdthefloor

— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) June 23, 2016

GOP lawmakers overruled Democrats' objections and then acted to adjourn the House into next month. Democrats cried "Shame, Shame!"

I like imagining John Boehner, sitting at home with a glass of Merlot, watching all this.

— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) June 23, 2016

'Pics In My Hands And Families In My Heart': 25 Hours Later

Almost 26-hours later, Democrats pledged to continue their fight once Congress returns from the July Fourth recess.

This is just the beginning. We will keep up this fight. #NoBillNoBreak #GunViolencePrevention

— Jan Schakowsky (@janschakowsky) June 23, 2016

On the impact of background checks and "gun show loopholes" on Chicago's residents, Rep. Jan Schakowsky gave WBEZ's Patrick Smith the following statement: 

"We had our 27th moment of silence for the murdered people in Orlando. Twenty-seven moments of silence since Sandy Hook. And that doesn’t count all of the people who are killed every weekend, really every day in the city of Chicago. 

Those every day massacres are calling out for some solution. Now we know that the bills that we’ve asked for [are not] the complete answer, but it would certainly help in Chicago. People can go next door to Indiana where 40 percent of the guns used in violence in Chicago are purchased at gun shows perfectly legally, without any background checks.”

Watch the speech she gave on the House floor here

Rep. Robin Kelly also carried the concerns of Chicago to the House floor. 

I hold their pics in my hands & their families in my heart. I demand the vote they deserve #NoBillNoBreak

— Robin Kelly (@RepRobinKelly) June 23, 2016

Listen below to hear Rep. Kelly's Morning Shift interview, and what Illinois lawmakers and residents are saying about what's to come. After all, July 5th is just around the corner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.