Rep. Adam Smith says gun control sit-in isn’t ‘a publicity stunt’
Jun 23, 2016, 7:11 AM | Updated: 10:49 am
(Adam Smith via Twitter)
It was near chaos Wednesday night as House Democrats continued their sit-in to try and force a vote on gun control.
Branding the move “a publicity stunt,” Republicans who control the chamber summarily adjourned the chamber until July 4.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz that the sit-in is far from a publicity stunt.
“No. What’s happening today is an effort to draw attention to the issue,” Smith told Rantz. “Politics is difficult business … It’s a very slow process. What you have to do in order to achieve your goal — that applies to goals I agree with and disagree with — is bring attention to them.”
Related: Footage of House sit-in proves social media is changing the rules
Democrats did that, going as far as using social media to ensure people on the outside could still see and hear what was going on, after Speaker Paul Ryan turned off cameras so CSPAN couldn’t broadcast the Democratic speeches.
But the actions taken by Democrats weren’t enough to move Republicans to vote. Around 3:15 a.m. the House immediately adjourned after majority Republicans pushed through a partisan bill to deal with the Zika virus outbreak. Democrats denounced the move as “cowardly,” staying on the floor to demand votes on bills to strengthen background checks and prevent suspected terrorsists from buying guns. About 20 hours after the protest began around a dozen Democrats remained.
Of the arguments against stricter gun control laws since the mass shooting in Orlando, Smith doesn’t agree with the idea that just because someone may be erroneously on a watch list, means everyone on that list should be allowed to buy a gun.
Smith told Rantz that Democrats are basically causing a stalemate.
“We are ultimately at the mercy of what the House majority decides,” he said. Though they can’t force a vote on gun control legislation, “what we can do is sort of stop anything from happening. In all likelihood there will be a series of protest votes, which means that the House is at a stand-still and right now it’s a stalemate.”
Due to House rules regarding broadcasts, my floor speech just now is thanks to @RepScottPeters #NoBillNoBreak pic.twitter.com/ISKwSyli03
— Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) June 23, 2016