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House Democrat Gun Control Sit-In Ends

Related: C-SPAN Airs Gun Protest on Periscope After Camera Blackout

Democrats ended their 25-plus hour sit-in on the House floor Thursday, taking a break without a bill or a vote on a bill on either universal background checks or denying guns to folks on the terrorist watch list.

"No bill, no break," had been the rallying cry, but Democrats signaled they had made their point, which was that the Republicans were obstructing a debate or vote on gun control legislation. Speaker Paul Ryan branded the sit-in a publicity stunt and told CNN he was not going to allow gun rights to be taken away without due process.

Republican leadership early Thursday morning adjourned the House until after the July 4 holiday, so there would have been no chance for either a vote or bill unless the House were called back into session before that, which would have to come from the speaker.

Following the sit-in. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) talked with supporters outside the Capitol and with C-SPAN about his role in providing video of the sit-in after his fellow Texan, Republican Rep. Ted Poe, gaveled the House into recess Wednesday after concluding the House was "not in order."

When the House went into recess—and after it adjourned—C-SPAN no longer had access to the House TV cameras controlled by the Republicans. They pointed out that the rules of that camera coverage included that they would be turned off when the House was not in session, though Democrats said recessing and adjourning was a tactic to keep the public from seeing the protest.

They saw it anyway thanks to social media. C-SPAN carried live Periscope and Facebook feeds from several Democrats, including O'Rourke, who pointed out that he kept having to replace his batteries and refresh the feed periodically as his hand fixed in the claw position (he demonstrated holding the phone) and while he subsisted on a couple of Pop Tarts and donuts, but no sleep.

O’Rourke also praised the folks who heard about the protest and "hopped on a bus" or otherwise to show up outside the Capitol in the spitting rain to support their protest.

In a press conference on the Democratic agenda, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi gave a shout out to Periscope and social media for giving the outside world access to the protest.

Pelosi did not say exactly what the Democrats would do when the House is called back in session July 5.But she also said they would continue their activism next week while the House is not in session.

"Members will decide what form of opposition to the status quo," she said, adding: "stay tuned."

"We cannot go through another moment of silence without taking action," she said, referring to what Congress has done in response to a series of mass shootings. During the protest, one point Democrats made repeatedly was that rather than pass gun control legislation, Congress had simly held moments of silence and then proceeded to regular business, which lately has been stalemate over such legislation.

In his press conference, Ryan called the protest a fund-raising scheme and publicity stunt given that the bill they were pushing had failed in committee and the Senate, so the Dems knew it was not going anywhere, he said.

He also said it was not a proud day for democracy or those who "staged this stunt."

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.