WASHINGTON (WTNH) — Starting at 11:20 Wednesday morning and continuing for hours afterwards, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) promised to hold the floor until his colleagues could come to an agreement on new gun control legislation in the wake of the nation’s latest mass murder.
“Why’d you sign up for this job if not to use it to solve the big problems,” Murphy asked his fellow senators.
Nearly four years after Sandy Hook, Connecticut’s junior senator is tired of waiting, and is now trying to force action on gun control legislation..
“Nobody denies this is happening only in the United States and nowhere else in the industrial world,” Murphy said. “Nobody denies the crippling, never-ending grief that comes with a loved one lost. Yet we do nothing. We just persist like business as usual.”
In response to the massacre Sunday in an Orlando nightclub that killed 49 and wounded at least 50, Murphy took the floor Wednesday and vows to filibuster a routine spending bill as long as necessary. He’s demanding two amendments are added. The first would require universal background checks for gun purchases. The second denies access to guns for people on the so-called terror watch list.
“I’m going to stand on this floor and talk about our experiences with Sandy Hook, Orlando’s experience, and the need to come together on this issue of making sure that people who have designs of mass murder don’t get dangerous weapons,” Murphy said.
Other Senators chimed in with comments phrased as questions to support Murphy’s effort. Fellow Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) claimed that the two amendments have overwhelming public support.
“To bring the body together on the issue of changing gun laws to reflect the will of 90 percent of the American people,” Blumenthal said, referring to poll data on the two amendments.
Murphy has before found creative ways to bring attention to gun violence. On New Year’s day, he tweeted out basic details of every mass shooting in America throughout the previous year. The final total was more than 300 incidents.
Back home in Connecticut, Senator Murphy’s efforts to bring about change are receiving mixed reviews to put it lightly.
“The Senator from Connecticut has no idea what he’s doing,” said Thomas Imperati, owner of the Hunter’s Shop in Branford.
Imperati sells the types of weapons Senator Murphy has condemned and thinks more gun control laws would be the wrong response to what has taken place in Orlando.
“It won’t stop anything,” said Imperati. “You get somebody who is crazy and wants to hurt somebody they’re going to do it.”
Senator Murphy does have his supporters. Among them is Father Thomas Lynch of St. James Church in Stratford.
“I am proud of Senator Murphy, he has the guts to say stand up and say listen we haven’t done anything,” said Father Lynch.