Democrats staging sit-in over gun controls

The US lawmakers have occupied the podium area and are demanding tougher gun control laws

Democrats staging sit-in over gun controls

A sit-in of more than 200 Democrats in demanding a vote on gun controls | Image: / AP/Press Association Images

In the US, Democrats have staged a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to demand action on gun control.

The lawmakers occupied the podium area, refusing to leave until they secured a vote, as Republicans cut off cameras broadcasting the protest.

The protest has gone on late into the night, with the politicians shouting and chanting over Speaker Paul Ryan as he gavelled the House into session and tried to bring order.

Last week's shooting by an Islamic State sympathiser in Florida has reinvigorated calls for gun control in the US.

Democrats held photos of gun victims, along with their names, as they staged their sit-in.

Cameras in the House were shut off, with politicians and members of the public tweeting C-SPAN to turn them back on.

The not-for-profit cable network remained on the air despite this by broadcasting live Periscope and Facebook feeds from the lawmakers demanding a vote.

Nearly 100 Democrats have been staging the demonstration led by Georgia Representative John Lewis, a veteran civil rights leader.

"We have lost hundreds and thousands of innocent people to gun violence," said 76-year-old Mr Lewis.

"What has this body done? Nothing. We have turned a deaf ear to the blood of innocents.

"We are blind to a crisis. Where is our courage? How many more mothers and fathers need to shed tears of grief?"

Democrats accused Republicans of political cowardice and demanded Speaker Ryan keep the chamber in session through recess next week to vote on firearms legislation.

"I am willing to stay here until hell freezes over," said California Democrat Maxine Waters.

Some lawmakers sang: "We shall not be moved."

Joining Wednesday's protest was Senator Chris Murphy, who staged a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week to force votes in the Senate on gun legislation.

But the Orlando shooting, the deadliest in modern US history, has so far failed to rally bipartisan support for action.

On Monday night, the Senate voted on four proposals, but they could not even agree to block gun sales to known terrorists.

Senators also voted down proposals to close a loophole that makes it easier to buy firearms at gun shows and to expand background checks.

Additional reporting by IRN