As California Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman spoke Wednesday evening during an unprecedented “sit-in” on Capitol Hill to demand a vote on gun control, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) interrupted him, shouting: “Radical Islam killed these people!”
Sherman, a moderate Democrat from the San Fernando Valley, had joined several dozen of his party colleagues in a protest against House Republicans’ refusal to allow votes on several gun regulations — all of which had already failed in the Senate.
Though the bills have no chance of becoming law, Democrats hope to win at least one of the votes, which would enable them to argue that by voting Democrat this November, Americans could help them retake the Senate and pass new gun restrictions.
The protest was led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who has long drawn on his history in the civil rights movement for partisan purposes, and who hinted last weekend during a Southern California visit that Democrats would “do something” big on guns.
The protest was also timed to coincide with, and drown out, a speech in New York by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Trump responded to rival Hillary Clinton’s attack earlier this week by criticizing Clinton for alleged corruption at the State Department and for her foreign policy record, while laying out his own alternative economic policies.
Rep. Gohmert began heckling Rep. Sherman during his speech — which was broadcast via Periscope by another Californian, Rep. Scott Peters of San Diego, in violation of House rules. At roughly 4:24 in the video below, Gohmert points to a poster of the victims of the June 12 terrorist attack and insists that radical Islam killed them — not the lack of gun control regulations.
Democrats have admitted that none of their proposed measures would have stopped terrorist Omar Mateen, who worked as a security guard and had been removed from a terrorist watch list, from purchasing the weapons used to kill 49 and injure 53.
The media have savored Democrats’ effort, though it is, effectively, a government “shutdown,” one that prevents the House from conducting its business as determined by the majority party elected by the voters. Few expressed the typical media concerns that appear during (legal) Republican filibusters, such as anger that Congress is not able to pass laws. Journalists also referred frequently to the civil rights movement — though the protest is an effort to deprive Americans of civil rights.
In effect, the protest is an effort by the minority party to seize control of the legislature, in defiance of the electorate. In form and tone, it resembles the Occupy Wall Street movement and the petulant student protests that have shut down university campuses more than it does the civil rights protests of the 1950s and 1960s. (Democrats even referred to their protest as an occupation.) Republicans adjourned the House until after the Fourth of July holiday, but the protest continued on Thursday.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.