Groundhog Day: Divided House Spars Over Gun Control

It was a different kind of political theater on C-SPAN Thursday as Democrats continued to try and get a vote on expanded background check gun legislation.

House Democrats were taking a new tack on their gun legislation protest, this time endlessly peppering the Speaker of the House with the same unanimous consent request to bring up H.R. 1217, the "bipartisan expanded background checks" legislation, which were as quickly denied.

The House remained in session, so C-SPAN got to cover it with cameras rather than the social network feeds it tapped into during the last sit-in protest, when House cameras were turned off after the House was adjourned.

Related: House Speaker Ryan Looking Into Sanctions Over House Sit-In

Each side was accusing the other of being obstructionists, the Democrats by continuing to make the request—each accompanied by the picture of a gun victim "who never received a moment of silence on the House floor"—the Republicans by refusing to bring up the bill for a vote.

The response from the speaker was always the same: "As previously announced, the unanimous consent request cannot be entertained."

At presstime, the parade of unanimous consent requests had been going on for almost an hour, with no other business having been conducted except for the repetitive requests and denials, interspersed with requests to the speaker who initially controlled the time of Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), to accede to the request.

Byrne, who occasionally responded, did not directly respond, instead attempting to resume consideration of other legislation.

Related: Rep. Bera Seeks Declaration of House Camera Independence

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.