House Democrats broke into chants of “Where’s the bill?” after Speaker Paul Ryan led a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Orlando, Florida, shootings.
The Democrats’ move was reminiscent of last month when several began shouting “Shame, shame, shame!” after a handful of Republicans switched their votes, causing an LGBT measure to fail.
On Monday, Democrats were voicing their opposition to Republicans offering “thoughts and prayers” rather than further gun control legislation that they believe would help address the problem of mass shootings in the country. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that Democrats have “had enough” of moments of silence following mass shootings.
Fox News reported, “A handful of Democrats left the House floor during the moment of silence, including Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes. Himes said earlier Monday in an interview that he’s done with the moments of silence typically held on the House floor after mass shootings, calling them ‘obnoxious expressions of smug incompetence.’ His district is close to Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at an elementary school in 2012.”
After the moment of silence, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., spoke from the House floor calling for action on three bills that he has offered in response to last summer’s Charleston shooting. Clyburn also wanted to point out the anniversary of the Charleston shooting is Friday.
Ryan ruled that the representative was out of order, since his legislation was not under consideration at that moment, which prompted House Democrats to begin shouting, “Where’s the bill?” and “No leadership!”
Critics have pointed out that none of the changes to gun control laws the president and the Democrats seek would not have prevented the San Bernardino, Oregon, Charleston or Sandy Hook attacks.
In the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, Democrats in Congress and President Obama sought three major gun control legislative changes: reinstating and strengthening the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (which was not renewed in 2004), limiting ammo magazines to 10 rounds, and instituting universal background checks.
Purchasers of firearms from a gun dealer must undergo a background check; however, private individuals can sell, trade or bequeath guns to each other without performing a background check.
The Orlando shooter purchased his weapons from a gun dealer and underwent a background check, which found he was not a felon or flagged for mental health issues.
Following the San Bernardino attack last fall, the president once again pushed for all three of the changes to gun control laws that he wanted after Sandy Hook. He also called on Congress to give the Justice Department the authority to ban the sale of firearms to those on the federal government’s unpublished no-fly list. Though the Orlando shooter had been investigated multiple times by the FBI for possible terrorist sympathies, he was not on the no-fly list.
Dems walk out of moment of silence for Orlando. Absolutely disgusting! https://t.co/HZASJeVUHh
— Leslie Barrett (@catspadog) June 14, 2016
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pointed out on Fox News on Tuesday, “Criminals and terrorists don’t obey the laws we have.” Last fall, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump highlighted that Paris has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, yet the terrorists there were able to carry out attacks that left 130 people dead.
Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer said after San Bernardino that the president’s push for more gun control legislation in response to the terrorist attacks is a “distraction.” He noted in the case of the San Bernardino shooters, they “were not on any list. … They live in the state with the strongest gun control laws probably in the country – assault weapons bans, magazine limits and universal background checks – and they were entirely undetected,” adding, “This was a way to change the subject.”
Krauthammer also stated that Obama exhorting Americans not to judge all Muslims based on the actions of a few was “a good thing to do.” He pointed out that George W. Bush did that same thing four days after 9/11. However, “at the same time he launched a real war against al-Qaida in Afghanistan.”