US Republican lawmakers have said they will not give in to Democratic demands to increase gun controls in the US. As the House returned after the Fourth of July recess, the battle over firearms shows no signs of abating.
The US House of Representatives is set to debate new legislation this week, with the Republicans' proposed bill giving the government the power to block firearms purchases for suspected terrorists - but only if prosecutors can prove in a court of law that the buyer is involved in terrorism.
Democrats have said the bill is too weak and want the chamber to vote on expanding background check requirements for gun buyers, as well as on banning firearms sales to terror suspects without prosecutors first proving the buyer is embarking on terrorism.
Democrats held a sit-in on the House floor for almost 26 hours on June 22-23, seeking to call attention to their demand for gun-control votes. This followed the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed.
Speaker Paul Ryan suggested on Tuesday that Democrats' plans to broaden background checks were unconstitutional and said Republicans would not "reward" Democrats for their sit-in two weeks ago.
"Win elections and get the majority, then you can set the agenda," Ryan said on the "Midday with Charlie Sykes" show on WTMU radio in Milwaukee.
House majority leader Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday that Democrats who had taken part in the sit-in could be punished for breaking House rules.
Their behavior was not "becoming of the US Congress," McCarthy said, adding that he and Ryan would be meeting with the House sergeant-at-arms later on Tuesday to discuss possible investigations and ramifications. "This is not the way the House should work," he added.
jbh/jr (Reuters, AP)