As their Republican counterparts left the chamber for a weeklong break, House Democrats remained on the floor, hours into their sit-in to demand votes on gun control legislation. The sit-in began just before noon on Wednesday and the House chamber descended into chaos until 3 a.m., when Speaker Paul Ryan called for a vote on a major appropriations bill with no debate and adjourned the House for the Fourth of July break.
Among the Democrats who participated in the sit-in was Minn. Rep. Keith Ellison, who was initially in a meeting when his colleagues stormed the House floor. But he quickly wrapped it up to join his fellow Democrats — Rep. Ellison's mom had called to tell him to get down to the floor, stat.
On Facebook, he posted a note with a message from his mom telling him to join the sit-in, and wrote, "Was in a meeting when my scheduler handed me this note. Couldn't say no. Don't worry, mom. I'm there."
The sit-in was widely shared and discussed online, despite Speaker Ryan turning off cameras in the chamber. C-SPAN, who tweeted that it had no control over the U.S. House TV cameras, aired instead live videos that House members were recording — a move that Hadas Gold at Politico acknowledged "would not have been possible even five years ago."
Ellison wasn't the only congressperson whose dedication to passing potentially life-saving gun control measures made headlines. Lawmaker and veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth was celebrated as a "badass" for smuggling a cellphone to document the event inside one of her prosthetics.