U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut's 4th District, took a bold step in protesting the lack of gun safety laws by boycotting all Congressional moments of silence after mass shootings.
Hours after a shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando killed 49 people, congressional leaders announced that they would honor the victims with a moment of silence on Monday. That's when Himes formally issued his refusal to participate in the ceremony.
On Monday, Himes took to the floor of the House to address his boycott.
"I will no longer stand here absorbing the faux concern, contrived gravity and tepid smugness of a House complicit in the weekly bloodshed," Himes said. "Sooner or later, the country will hold us accountable for our inaction. But as you bow your head think of what you will say to your God when you are asked what you did to slow the slaughter of the innocents. Silence."
It seems that Himes' boycott is working as other members of the House joined him by protesting the moment of silence.
After Congress failed to pass gun safety legislation in the wake of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama expanded background checks with an executive order in January. However, the recent shooting in Florida proves that more laws are needed to protect Americans from gun violence. And this time, the pressure is on Congress to take meaningful action.
"Thoughts and prayers are important but they don't stop the carnage in our streets and they let you off too easy," Himes told ThinkProgress. "Offer your thoughts and prayers, and then show up on the damn floor and pass a bill that most Americans accept and that will save a lot of lives."