If you take a glimpse at the June 13 House Floor Proceedings agenda, it clearly states that at 6:55 p.m. the House observed a moment of silence in memory of the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida. However, while the moment was clearly observed, it was when House Speaker Paul Ryan called to order that the House Democrats began to demand answers on pending gun legislation.
As desperately as Ryan wanted to move on to discuss H.R. 5312 (which calls "to amend the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 to authorize activities for support of networking and information technology research, and for other purposes), Democrats had more pressing matters.
Democratic Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina requested recognition, and began by saying, "I am really concerned that we have just today had a moment of silence and later this week the 17th . . .," but then was interrupted by a question from Ryan.
"Yes, Mr. Speaker," Clyburn continued. "I am particularly interested about three pieces of legislation that have been filed in response to Charleston."
Though as Daily Intelligencer notes: "But Ryan, concluding that Clyburn was not in fact posing a parliamentary inquiry, shut him down and proceeded with the day's agenda, causing Democrats to take up their cry again: 'Where's the bill?'"
Clyburn obviously wanted to discuss the three gun-control measures that he introduced after the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that took place almost a year ago this week. Those measures include: one that allowed the gunman to buy weapons because his background check wasn't completed in three days; one that would prevent people on the FBI's terrorist watch list from buying guns; and one that would block anyone convicted of a hate crime from buying a gun.
After their session was over, Clyburn told reporters: "We just think having moments of silence every time something like this happens rather than fashioning some response to what maybe the causes of it (is a problem)."
"I think it's egregious the speaker didn't allow Mr. Clyburn, the assistant leader of the Democratic caucus, to speak when he asked for time. He should have allowed him to speak," said Rep. Karen Bass, D-California, according to CNN. "He wanted to raise the anniversary of South Carolina and he also wanted to raise the issue on where is the legislation."
"The moment of silence is an act of respect and we supported that but it is not a license to do nothing and ... Republicans have afforded it that power," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, the minority leader. And as CNN reports, Pelosi said that "the chamber has had about 11 moments of silence for the victims of mass shootings in the last year and a half."