Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said he won't be attending any more moments of silence on the House floor after mass shootings, arguing that they have become an excuse for Congress not to take any real action to address gun violence.
Himes' tweet came Sunday night, after the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. At least 50 people were killed in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Congress has mastered the art of the moment of silence. It seems that these days, all lawmakers can agree to do is stand there with their heads bowed, wishing that they could do something to help stop this violence. Instead of legislative solutions, they offer thoughts and prayers.
Himes' district neighbors Newtown, the town in southwestern Connecticut that had its own tragedy in 2012, when Adam Lanza gunned down 20 children and six adults in an elementary school. He has said he feels ashamed that Congress hasn't done anything on gun violence.
"I always feel the sense of embarrassment that, at the federal level, we've been incapable of changing the environment in any way that would allow us to push some gun safety measures," Himes said in 2013.
Connecticut's senators, Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, also put out blistering statements Sunday in response to the Orlando shooting, saying lawmakers' inaction on gun control made them "complicit."
"This phenomenon of near constant mass shootings happens only in America -- nowhere else," Murphy said. "Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence. This doesn't have to happen, but this epidemic will continue without end if Congress continues to sit on its hands and do nothing -- again."