House gun control sit-in misses its target

Jun 24, 2016

Despite failing to ignite action from the Senate, Congressman Brian Higgins says the Democratic sit-in at the House chambers “effective in galvanizing public opinion” on what he calls “common sense gun safety measures.”

In the wake of the Orlando shooting which killed 49, Higgins joined other Democratic House members in protesting the Senate’s inaction on gun safety legislation. The sit-in, which lasted over 24 hours, ended on Thursday afternoon.

One of the four bills that was shot down by the Senate before it could reach the floor to be voted on was the “no fly, no buy” bill, which would disallow those on federal no-fly lists from purchasing firearms.

Congressman Brian Higgins speaks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives with the photos of gun violence victims behind him.
Credit C-SPAN

“If you’re on the terror watch list and you can’t get on a plane, you shouldn’t be able to purchase an assault rifle legally in this country,” Higgins said. “It’s simple. Nobody’s rights are being threatened. What we’re trying to do is protect the rights of citizens to be protected, and that’s what this is all about.”

Higgins left the sit-in frustrated with the Senate’s recent handling of proposed gun safety legislation.

“We’re not able to vote on this because House leadership won’t allow these bills to come to the floor of congress,” he said. “That’s anti-American, that’s anti-democratic. At least allow for a vote.”

The act of civil disobedience proved to fall short from the ultimate goal of getting legislation passed. Higgins said Congress needs to “wake up” and “change dramatically the way [they] do business.”