Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat, says he no longer will participate in moments of silence held in the House chamber for victims of mass shootings because Congress doesn't follow them up with any legislative action.
A moment of silence was held Monday afternoon by the Senate for the 49 victims of a shooter at an Orlando gay nightclub over the weekend. The House plans a moment of silence at 6:45 p.m.
"Silence. That is how the leadership of the most powerful country in the world will respond to this week's massacre of its citizens," Himes said on the House floor earlier Monday, The Hill reports.
"Silence. Not me. Not anymore," he continued. "I will no longer stand here absorbing the faux concern, contrived gravity and tepid smugness of a House complicit in the weekly bloodshed."
Democrats have proposed gun control bills following mass shootings, including after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre in 2012. President Barack Obama instituted multiple executive actions, but none of his proposals to the Republican-led Congress were enacted. They included limiting the size of ammunition magazines and expanding background checks to private gun sales.
Republicans favor working on the mental health system to combat the problem.
"As you bow your head and think of what you say to your God, when you are asked what you did to slow the slaughter of innocents, there will be silence," Himes told his fellow House members on Monday.
Other Democrats have previously said they will no longer participate in moments of silence, including two from Illinois: Reps. Robin Kelly and Jan Schakowsky. Schakowsky shouted, "Now let's do something!" following a moment of silence in October, the Hill notes.
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