While Democratic lawmakers held a sit-in on the House floor, blocking any further business in the chamber until the Republican leadership allowed a floor vote on gun legislation, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa took to Twitter to call the protest an "anti-Second Amendment jihad."
On June 23, House Democrats surprised their GOP colleagues by staging a sit-in, blocking any further administrative business on the House floor.
The effort was led by Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, an icon of the Civil Rights era, The Associated Press reports.
The sit-in had led to contentious verbal standoffs between Democratic and Republican lawmakers, with the House Speaker, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, deeming the protest “a publicity stunt.”
The House Democrats were protesting after the GOP leadership blocked several attempts to hold a floor vote on bills that would expand background checks on gun purchases and prohibit persons placed on the FBI’s “no-fly” list from purchasing firearms.
The Republican leadership adjourned the House until July 4, hoping to wait out the protest. House Republicans filed out of the chamber to return home for the holiday. The Democrats chanted, “No bill, no break!”
The sit-in stretched into the night. In the early hours of June 4, Republican State Rep. Steve King of Iowa took to social media to ridicule his Democratic colleagues, and likened their efforts to religious extremism.
“I’ve had it with the gun grabbing Democrats, and their sit in anti 2nd amendment jihad,” King tweeted out, according to The Hill. “I’m going to go home and buy a new gun.”
King has opposed closing the no-fly list loophole, stating the even suspected terrorists should be allotted their Second Amendment rights.
Following the Orlando shooting massacre, the GOP lawmaker said that the solution to curbing mass shootings was Republican nominee Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban, not prohibiting the sale of firearms to suspected terrorists.
“We want to have a prudent immigration policy, and the Democrats want to take away our guns!” King told CNN. “The very thing we need to defend ourselves from people like that shooter in Orlando.”
As for persons who have been placed on the FBI’s terrorist watch list, King said, “I’m not willing to take the guns out of the hands of everybody who fits that category, because we’re denying them their right to defend themselves, too.”
King recently made headlines after filing a motion to prevent the addition of Harriet Tubman’s likeness to the $20 bill. The GOP lawmaker insisted that he wanted to keep Andrew Jackson on the paper money, and called the selection of Tubman as his replacement “sexist” and “racist,” Politico reports.