After 26 hours, Democrats in the House of Representatives endedtheir sit-in for gun control.

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Since there is no House activity planned until after the 4th ofJuly weekend, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, the party’ssecond-in-command, said members would return to their districtsduring that time to build support for gun controllegislation.

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A tactic usually associated with protesting workers or students,the sit-in flummoxed Republicans, who rushed out of the House afterquickly voting to pass an $80 billion spending bill over theobjections of the sitting Democrats at 3 a.m.

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Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the Democrats’ actions as a“publicity stunt” and a political fundraising ploy that threatenedto undermine the functioning of government.

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“No matter how bad things get in this country, we have a basicstructure that ensures a functioning democracy,” he said. “We candisagree on policy but we do so within the bounds of order andrespect for the system, otherwise it all falls apart.”

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But Democrats emerged from the sit-in emboldened, walking downthe steps of the Capitol in a large group.

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“The American people are with us and people around the world arewith us,” said Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia. An icon of the CivilRights movement, Lewis was one of the leaders of the sit-instrategy.

What the lawmakers want

In the wake of the shooting in Orlando that claimed49 lives — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S.history — Democrats are ratcheting up the pressure onRepublicans to accept what they say are modest changes to gunlaws.

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Among the changes they have floated are barring those who are onthe FBI’s terrorism watch list or no-fly list from purchasingfirearms, requiring those selling guns at gun shows to performbackground checks on customers and barring the sale ofhigh-capacity assault rifles.

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In addition, Democrats have proposed changing a 20-year-oldpolicy that prohibits the Centers for Disease Control from usingfederal funds on any research that promotes gun control. Guncontrol advocates argue that the CDC has stopped conducting anyresearch on gun violence because of the law, passed with thebacking of the National Rifle Association two decadesago.

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Democrats are supported in many of their gun control efforts byprominent medical associations, including the American PublicHealth Association, the American Academy of Emergency Physiciansand the American Academy of Pediatricians.

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On Wednesday, the New England Journal of Medicine, one of theworld’s best-respected medical journals, said that doctors need toraise their voices in support of gun control measures.

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"The devastation wrought by firearms is not inevitable, and toconsider this scale of death the price of freedom is a perversionof the notion of liberty," said an editorial by the journal.

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