Aside from the growing number of Democratic colleagues who joined Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut as midnight approached, the senator got some other support.
Shortly before midnight, several dozen demonstrators who had marched across the city from as far as Dupont Circle approached the Capitol.
The demonstrators waved rainbow flags and shouted: "We're here, we're queer. Get these guns out of here!"
Robert Disney, the national outreach director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, stopped to speak to the crowd before they approached the Capitol building itself.
"Congress completely, completely just left off what their duties are, and look at what happened. Our people have died because of their inaction," Disney said, who had noted his husband was at home with their sons.
"It's time to let him know that all of the 40-some-odd senators that have come down to help, that we appreciate them," Disney said, before the group entered the Capitol to watch Murphy and his colleagues from the visitor's gallery.
Just before going through security on the north end of the Capitol, a police officer asked if anyone was planning on getting arrested inside the building, to which the answer was a resounding no. One woman offered that she needed to be in a classroom to teach school first thing Thursday morning.