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Senator uses ‘voices of victims’ to push for gun control 2 years after Sandy Hook tragedy

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Chris Murphy, (D) Connecticut, is a United States Senator from the state of Connecticut.

Chris Murphy, (D) Connecticut, is a United States Senator from the state of Connecticut.

WASHINGTON — Sunday marks the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre that killed twenty children and six teachers on December 14, 2012. And though Congress hasn’t passed any gun reform laws in its wake, there’s one senator who’s made it his mission to persistently push for changes, even when no one’s listening.

For the past two years, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, has been traveling to the Senate floor, month after month, to detail the growing numbers of people killed by gun violence. He calls these speeches, “Voices of Victims.”

Asked what drives him to continually make his plea, he said it’s to keep “the drum beat up on the Senate floor.”

To him, telling victim’s stories, identifying who they were, what they enjoyed, where they lived, personalizes the issue and hopefully makes it harder for his colleagues and state lawmakers to ignore.

“There’s no more personal issue than gun violence; every one of these stories is a life lost,” he said. “I’m hoping that over the long term, as I tell these stories, that it will help to open people’s eyes.”

“It is beyond comprehension that Congress is watching this epidemic of school shootings and chooses to do nothing,” Murphy added.

Murphy’s uphill battle for comprehensive gun control reform, however, is met with significant challenges. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, and the many that followed, there’s been no legislation on the issue. After a failed vote on a bill that would have broadened background checks for gun purchasers in April 2013, there’s been no sign of any additional legislation.

And with Republicans maintaining the House and winning the Senate as a result of the midterm election, Murphy’s push for gun control legislation and background checks hasn’t gotten any easier. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a staunch supporter of the National Rifle Association and 90 percent of NRA-backed candidates won their seats during midterm elections.

Sandy Hook Elem. kids evacuating

“[The NRA] is absolutely pulling one over on their members,” Murphy said. “The NRA was for background checks a decade ago, and they changed their position, despite the fact that their members support background checks.”

A new Pew survey released earlier this week indicates additional challenges for gun control advocates. According to the survey, the number of people supporting gun rights now offsets those who support gun control with 52 percent of Americans siding with gun rights, and 46 percent siding with gun control.

On Wednesday, Murphy acknowledged the challenges for achieving gun control legislation with the Republican-led Congress during a Senate floor speech, but hinted he might be finding a new way to challenge the issue.

“I get it that we’re not going to get a background checks bill passed through the Senate in the next two years, but why not work on mental health funding?” he asked.

Either way, Murphy is not giving up. He acknowledged that fighting for stricter gun laws is a lifelong campaign for the families affected by Sandy Hook.

“It gives me hope that if I stick with this, families will stick with this alongside me,” he said.

8 comments

  • Lisa

    what about the voices of the mentally ill? My older brother was mentally ill and we tried to get him committed or supervised to take his medicine. He would be held for a day or two and released. Luckily he was usually not violent.

    God bless all those children who were hurt and families who are suffering loss!

  • Manalishi

    BUUULLLLLSS****T! Parading victims for the purpose of a generic approach is stereotypical democrat trash. Guns do not create violence, criminals do. Yet there is no talk of punishing the offenders at all from communists like Sen. murphy. Enforce the laws and hold public servants criminally accountable for failure.

  • Dr. Hook

    Not going to happen.
    The NRA and their ilk will have nothing to do with sensible solutions to gun violence.
    Let’s arm 6 year olds and train them to shoot instead!

    • Daryle Panek

      I have a suggestion why don’t you do some research on gun violence before going and blaming the NRA for all gun violence problems, The problem is that the justice system does not enforce the laws on the books, they favor the rights of the criminal over those of the victim. You can thank the Liberal Lawmakers for these acts. a slap on the wrist and they are let free to commit more crimes.

  • Gene Ralno

    Public school pupils are forced to attend at the point of a gun but refused protection by equal force. Ironic isn’t it.

  • Jim Beam

    This isn’t about responsible gun owners. This is about all the slow thinkers, starting with the mouth breathers from the National Rifle Association — the ones who have pimped themselves out to gun manufacturers and prostituted the Second Amendment at the same time — who actually believe that assault-weapons bans and tougher background checks and limits on ammunition are somehow a threat to everything good and decent.

    You want to ask these people how many first-graders, or the brave adults who shielded them and tried to save them, might have lived that day if Adam Lanza didn’t have a gun made for easy killing. Which names wouldn’t be on the mural underneath the statue of the Blessed Virgin on Church Hill Road?

  • Kathy

    People with mental or psychological issues or personal agenda issues kill people. Some choose to use guns. If it is harder to get a gun legally, they will figure out a way to get one illegally or find another way to kill. I haven’t seen anyone say we should take away everyone’s knives or crowbars or anything else someone can use to kill people. I have never seen a gun get up and go murder someone. Normal law abiding citizens generally don’t kill people. People looking for political gain with making the gun ownership laws stricter should look at social issues and mental health issues to help with violence. Then maybe these senseless killings will lessen.

  • Adam

    Totally disagree. GOA and SAF speak more for the NRAs members by far than this article. Lawful gun owners have compromised their rights to no avail for years. We will not sucomb to more useless legislation that does not stop criminals from anything.

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