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Democrats wind down gun violence ‘sit in’ after occupying House

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Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives began winding down a “sit in” at the chamber on Thursday, but vowed to renew the fight for more gun control after the gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, despite strong Republican opposition.

Scores of Democrats flooded the House floor for some 16 hours, sitting in the aisles and bringing business to a halt, to demand that Republican House leaders allow a vote on gun-related legislation after the June 12 shooting in which a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

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Republicans then retook control of the chamber, forced through several unrelated measures, adjourned the House and announced there would be no more votes until after the July 4 national holiday.

But Representative John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia and a civil rights leader from the 1960s who led the protest, said the fight to secure greater control of weapons would go on.

“Today we’ve come a distance. We’ve made some progress. We’ve crossed one bridge, but we have other bridges to cross,” said Lewis. “And when we come back in July, we’ll start all over again. The American people, they want us to act, they want us to do something.”

Gun control is a potent political issue and Americans are on edge after mass shootings in recent years in Connecticut, Colorado, California and elsewhere. The protest and rowdy scenes in the House reflected what is fast becoming a heated issue in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

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Democrats were seeking votes on legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases, as well as measures to curb the sale of weapons to people on government watch lists.

Republicans, angry for having lost control of the chamber for most of a day, denounced the sit-in as a publicity stunt. Chaotic scenes ensued when several Republican representatives charged the chamber floor and yelled at protesting Democrats, prompting a confrontation that nearly descended into fisticuffs.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan refused Democrats’ demands for action on gun control, insisting he would not bring up any bill that would take away gun owners’ constitutional rights.

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Instead he forced votes on unrelated legislation. Democrats held up signs honoring gun violence victims during the votes and sang “We Shall Overcome,” the anthem of the civil rights movement.

Ryan called for decorum but could scarcely be heard over Democrats chanting “no bill, no break!” to demand action on guns.

“The House is focused on eliminating terrorists, not constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. And no stunts on the floor will change that,” Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.

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ECHOING THE SENATE

The Democrats’ move echoed last week’s filibuster by Senate Democrats to protest against inaction on guns in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting, the worst in modern U.S. history.

After the Senate talk-a-thon, the Senate’s Republican majority scheduled votes on four gun control measures – all of which failed on Monday. Work on a compromise is under way.

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Congress has not passed major gun control legislation since 1994, with gun rights defenders saying such measures infringe the constitutional right to bear arms.

Pleading for action on gun control, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi invoked not only Orlando but other mass shootings, including an attack a year ago by a white man at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine people.

“Just because they have left doesn’t mean we are taking no for an answer,” she said after Republicans departed.

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Several Democratic senators crossed the Capitol on Wednesday to join protesters, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine and Cory Booker, all mentioned as potential running mates for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who voiced her support on Twitter.

Lawmakers also took to social media to document their demonstration with video and pictures.

Outside the Capitol, dozens of supporters gathered in solidarity at a rally organized by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

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(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, Timothy Gardner, Patricia Zengerle and Ruthy Munoz; Editing by Susan Heavey, Paul Tait and Richard Balmforth)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

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President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

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‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

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An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

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2020 Election

‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’

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Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.

CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."

Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."

Spotted at a Biden event in the Hamptons: Fmr. Trump WH Comms Director Anthony @Scaramucci pic.twitter.com/PWVTZ8Qm15

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