Rep. John Lewis, other politicians organize sit-in to demand gun control vote while Americans debate gun safety

Rep. John Lewis, other politicians organize sit-in to demand gun control vote while Americans debate gun safety
2016-06-22 18:00:17 UTC

Update: After approximately 25 hours, the sit-in lead by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis has ended. However, he confirmed on Twitter that they didn't "give up or give in" and will right back at it on July 5. 

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Original story below:

After countless shootings, including the latest in Orlando that involved over 100 people hurt (49 of which were killed, excluding the shooter) at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016, some politicians have had enough. Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy's filibuster, which included 40 participating Democratic senators, on June 15 was one of the most memorable steps in recent years to finally try to get more measures passed on gun control. 

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                                       Sen. Chris Murphy (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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However, approximately 15 hours later, the filibuster was complete and the vote to pass either proposal for gun measures -- one written by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- was still struck down in a vote of 53-47.

In Feinstein's proposal, the goal would've been to block anyone on a terrorist watch list from buying guns or explosives. In Murphy's, the goal was to expand background checks so that they would include online purchases or gun shows. 

Although both proposals were turned down, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has tagged himself in. Today, June 22, he staged a sit-in on the House Floor to get a vote to address gun violence.

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                                       Rep. John Lewis (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

"We have to ask who we are as a people. Are we a people of progress or a people of inaction? #holdthefloor," he said via Twitter

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He certainly has the president on his side, who retweeted his tweet about the sit-in. But how much do other Americans agree with this idea? It turns out that 67 percent approve of President Barack Obama’s executive order for more background checks while 32 percent disapprove. The White House broke down what they'd like to do to help control gun violence, but there are still politicians on both sides of the political board who just won't budge.

Visit "CNN poll: 67 percent of Americans approve of Obama's executive action for background checks on guns" to read about an earlier plan this year from the White House.

When it comes to gun control laws, the opinions vary outside of Congress as much as inside. In a 2015 Gallup poll, 55 percent of Americans wanted stricter laws. This percentage is significant primarily because it clashes with other Gallup polls between 2000 to 2014. In 2002, Americans said that having a gun in the home made them feel 35 percent safer. By 2014, that percentage shot up to 63 percent. Meanwhile in 2000, Americans said that having a gun in the home was 51 percent more dangerous. By 2014, that belief decreased to 30 percent. 

Along the party lines, Democrats were far more likely to lean toward gun ownership in the home being more dangerous. Republicans (81 percent) doubled the Democrats' 41 percent on guns being safe. The increasing amount of news reports about mass shootings and gun-related deaths have been influential in gun purchases. 

While James Holmes (Aurora, Colorado shooting during the movie release of “The Dark Knight Rises") was responsible for five more injured than the Orlando shooting (58 versus 53), Omar Mateen was responsible for more deaths (49 versus 12) than the Colorado tragedy, along with any of the other deadliest shootings in the United States from 1984 to 2016, according to an LA Times report

However, mass shootings are not the only reason some are leaning toward gun ownership. Besides the go-to response about the Second Amendment's right to bear arms, The Guardian runs down several reasons that people want to own guns. 

* Protection
* Recreation (target shooting, hunting)
* Vulnerability (paranoia, angry and insecurity)
* Status symbols 

But for any of the reasons above, none can particularly rationalize why assault weapons (such as Mateen's legally purchased .223 AR-15-style assault rifle) are needed in everyday life. 

Recommended Reading: "Cheap travel: 12 things to do in Washington DC for $10 or less

Rep. John Lewis Takes Action on Guns
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) leads his colleagues in taking action on gun violence on the House Floor June 22, 2016

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