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Grayson, Murphy join fellow House members in sit-in over gun bills


Several Florida Democrats -- including U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy, the two main contenders in the Democratic primary for Florida's U.S. Senate race -- are among the dozens of members of Congress participating in a sit-in protest this afternoon on the U.S. House floor to persuade Republican leaders to take up "no fly, no buy" legislation.

The protest began before noon, led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

Both Grayson and Murphy support the "no fly, no buy" bill, which would prevent people on the FBI's terrorist watchlist from buying guns. A Senate vote on the issue failed earlier this week.

Just after 2 p.m., Murphy stepped away from the sit-in for about 15 minutes to speak with state and national reporters on a conference call arranged by his U.S. Senate campaign for Murphy to comment on Republican Marco Rubio's decision today to seek re-election. Murphy said gun control reform "is going to be one of the defining issues of this Senate race," and he blasted Rubio for voting against reform proposals.

Many members of Congress, including Grayson and Murphy, shared pictures of themselves on social media to capture the sit-in, since the official House cameras were turned off amid the disruption. (As an alternative, CSPAN was airing a live Periscope feed from U.S. Rep. Scott Peters of California.)

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said: "Today, House Democrats stood up and said enough is enough."

"America is crying out for action on gun violence, and Speaker (Paul) Ryan and House Republicans have met those cries with cowardly and deafening silence," she said in a statement. "Their inaction is a national disgrace and House Democrats will not stand for it any longer. And so, we sit!"

Miami Democrat Annette Taddeo -- who's challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Congressional District 26 -- also sent out a statement blasting House Republicans.

She said they "should be ashamed of themselves for blocking such a simple commonsense measure that would stop terrorists from getting access to guns and keep our country safe."

"I stand with the mothers and fathers whose children have been victims of senseless gun violence in South Florida, and demand that House Republicans pass a bill to stop terrorists from getting a gun," she said.