The Congressional Black Caucus Just Issued a Passionate Call for Gun Control

“Republicans, what on earth. Why are you recoiling and not giving us a debate on gun violence?!”

Two weeks ago, a group of House Democrats led a 26-hour sit-in, after Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) peacefully occupied the House floor to force a vote on two pieces of gun control legislation that the GOP had refused to consider. Congress returned to Washington this week just as three firearms-related tragedies rocked the nation: The police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas on Thursday night. Friday afternoon, members of the Congressional Black Caucus renewed calls for the GOP to pass gun control legislation.

“We don’t need to leave the Hill this week, or any week, without assuring the American people that we understand the problem of police misconduct in America. We understand the murders of innocent black Americans. We get it,” said Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), chair of the caucus. “We understand the problems faced by law enforcement officers, most of whom put on the uniform every day and serve and protect our communities. Republicans, what on earth? Why are you recoiling and not giving us a debate on gun violence?”

Other members of Congress reacted earlier in the day with additional calls for peace and a solution on gun control. Rep. John Lewis, another member of the Congressional Black Caucus who marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 to demand voting rights, reacted to Thursday’s police deaths in Dallas on Twitter:

Rep. Chris Murphy, whose district includes Newtown, Connecticut, where the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School took place in December 2012, wrote: