House Democrats heckle Paul Ryan over gun laws

A day after a mass shooting in Orlando, Democratic lawmakers erupted on the House floor with loud criticism of House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders for leaving the nation’s gun laws untouched. Some protested by leaving the House floor during a moment of silence honoring the victims.

Democrats yelled “Where’s the bill?” and “No leadership!” Monday evening after Ryan held a moment of silence for 49 people killed at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday.

The disruption came after South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, attempted to ask Ryan on the floor when bills curbing gun use would be considered. Before Clyburn could finish, Ryan ruled his question out of order and directed the House to move to the next vote.

A handful of Democrats left the House floor during the moment of silence, including Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes. Himes said earlier Monday in an interview that he’s done with the moments of silence typically held on the House floor after mass shootings, calling them “obnoxious expressions of smug incompetence.” His district is close to Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at an elementary school in 2012.

Leaving the House chamber, Ryan, R-Wis., declined to comment on the exchange. Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong tweeted that Democrats were politicizing the moment of silence, and called that “disheartening.”


President Obama traveling to Orlando on Thursday

President Obama will travel to Orlando on Thursday to pay respects to the victims of last weekend’s nightclub shooting and to stand in solidarity with the community as it embarks on recovery, the White House said Monday night.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest did not provide more details about the trip.

Obama has called the Orlando shooting an act of terrorism and an act of hate. He noted that the site of the shooting was more than a nightclub, calling it a place where people came to raise awareness, speak their minds and advocate for their civil rights.

Obama, speaking in the Oval Office, said the attack appears similar to the shooting late last year in San Bernardino, California, though he added that “we don’t yet know.”

“At this stage, we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally,” Obama said, referring to suggestions that the Islamic State group or other extremists had orchestrated the attack. “It does appear that at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL.”


Obama said investigators are still looking into the motivations of the shooter and considering all possibilities. He said gays and lesbians are targeted by organizations like Islamic State, al-Qaida and others because of their “vicious, bankrupt ideology” and their religious beliefs about homosexuality.

“The fact that it took place at a club frequented by the LGBT community I think is also relevant,” Obama said.

Pulse regular saw gunman drinking at club several times

A regular at the club that became the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history says he saw the gunman there drinking on several occasions before the massacre.

Ty Smith told The Orlando Sentinel that he had seen 29-year-old Omar Mateen at the gay bar, Pulse. Smith says Mateen would sit and drink by himself, sometimes getting loud and belligerent.

Smith says he did not talk to Mateen much, but that Mateen mentioned having a wife and child.


Semi-automatic AR-15 is most popular rifle sold in U.S.

Military-style assault weapons like the one Omar Mateen used to blast away at an Orlando nightclub remain legal and easy to purchase – easier, in Florida, than buying a handgun.

Mateen wielded an AR-15, the most popular rifle sold in the United States according to the National Rifle Association. It’s the civilian version of the M-16 rifle used by the U.S. military and many armies around the globe.

President Obama and other gun control advocates have repeatedly called for reinstating a federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons that expired in 2004.

Opponents of a ban say semi-automatic rifles and pistols are good for hunting, target shooting and self-defense and that a prohibition would infringe on the constitutional right to bear arms while doing little to prevent crime. Both sides agree that such weapons are used in only a tiny fraction of gun crimes.

But gun control advocates say any legitimate use of the weapons pales next to their ability to quickly inflict mass casualties.


Eight states have banned certain assault weapons, the use of high-capacity ammunition magazines, or both, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Requiring a shooter to reload after every 10 rounds fired would prevent at least some carnage in mass shootings, supporters of such measures say.

Security Council condemns attack in ‘strongest terms’

The United Nations Security Council is condemning “in the strongest terms” the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead.

France’s U.N. ambassador, Francois Delattre, the security council president for June, told reporters that council members expressed their “deepest sympathies and condolences” to the families of the victims and to the United States.

Delattre said that “any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable,” regardless of their motivation.

Investigators are looking into the background of 29-year-old Omar Mateen for clues to why the American-born Muslim carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

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