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John Lewis to revive gun control push after Las Vegas shooting

Atlanta congressman and civil rights figurehead John Lewis is planning to re-up the pressure on his Republican colleagues Wednesday to pass gun control legislation in the aftermath of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Lewis and several of his House Democratic colleagues are planning a press conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol this morning to honor the victims of the shooting and protest Congress’ inaction on gun control in recent years. He’ll be joined by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who narrowly escaped death after she was shot in the head at a constituent meet-and-greet in 2011.

The group will call for passage of a bill that would strengthen firearm background checks. Lawmakers also want Congress to establish a bipartisan Select Committee on Gun Violence to study the issue and recommend other potential legislation.

The press conference comes more than a year after Lewis and his colleagues seized the House floor for more than 24 hours to protest GOP leaders’ refusal to bring up gun control legislation in the aftermath of the deadly shootings at an Orlando night club.  Lewis evoked his civil rights roots for the sit-in, which dominated social media as Democratic lawmakers streamed their protests live from the House floor.

Their effort did not work. House Speaker Paul Ryan declined to bring up for a vote anything that would tighten gun laws and raised the prospect of punishing the Democratic lawmakers for breaking the chamber's rules.

Minds are not likely to change this time either. Lewis reportedly approached Ryan earlier this week to see if he would come to Wednesday's press conference, Politico reported. Ryan declined.

This weekend’s shootings may have changed the fate of at least one piece of firearms-related legislation on Capitol Hill. Ryan apparently put a bill that would have eased restrictions on gun silencers on the back burner.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.