One year ago today was my very favorite Blue Jersey moment of 2016.
On the floor of the House, a full-on revolt; a 25 hour sit-in on guns by Democrats in the wake of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people. The Dems wanted to talk barring suspected terrorists on no-fly lists from buying guns, and universal background checks. Sensible stuff. But Speaker Ryan refused to bring the bills up for a vote, and embarrassed by the Democrats’ resolve and their capture the news cycle, shut down the session. When that happens, C-SPAN’s cameras are shut down.
In a moment representing a huge leap for social media, out came the smartphones of House Dems literally sitting, refusing to move, occupying the House. I was in touch with several Dem members and staff as pizza, snacks, blankets and pillows began to arrive. Very late at night, when most Americans were in bed, I texted Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman to tell her a crowd had gathered outside the U.S. Capitol supporting the action inside. After midnight, she came out briefly to talk to them: “I’m here, because Blue Jersey told me you were here.” Pretty humbling stuff.
The struggle continues, but for 25 hours the Dems schooled America, reminding people of some of the ways mass shooting can be prevented, reminding us the enablers of a gun culture do not, and never will, have our interests at heart. And it was a civics lesson of mass proportion. Pick that story up at The Atlantic. Also, see follow-up coverage on the issue from Matthew Brian Hersh here with Rep. BWC and here interviewing a New Jersey mother whose son was shot and killed saving the lives of two women.