RADIO INTERVIEW: Senator Chris Murphy: His Calling In The Wake Of Tragedy

Senator Chris Murphy States: 40% of the Mass Killings in this Country — In The History of This Country — Have Happened Since the Assault Weapon Ban Expired

Shortly after Chris Murphy won election to the senate in 2012, 20 kindergarten and first graders were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Senator Murphy was at a train station with his two young children when he heard. He immediately turned around and headed for Newtown.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook the outpouring of grief from the American people was immense, and so was the global outrage and condemnation of America for the barbaric protection of automatic weapons by Congress that endanger the lives of children and adults in U.S. society. The sale of assault weapons had to be stopped.

On February 27, 2013 Senator Dianne Feinstein held a news conference to announce she was putting forth a bill to ban the sale of assault weapons.  At the news conference Dianne Feinstein read the statement quoted here, which describes the bill and frames subsequent Senate Hearings:

We are holding today’s hearing because the massacre in Newtown was, sadly, not an anomaly.  From the 1966 shooting rampage at the University of Texas, to the Newtown massacre, we have witnessed an increasing number of these mass killings…

Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass shootings across the United States.  And they have been accelerating in recent years:  25 of these shootings have occurred since 2006, and seven took place in 2012.

The one common thread running through these mass shootings in recent years— from Aurora, Colorado, to Tucson, Arizona, to Blacksburg, Virginia — is that the gunman used a military-style, semiautomatic assault weapon or large-capacity ammunition magazine to commit the unspeakable horror  . . .

We cannot allow the carnage I have described to continue without taking action.  That is why I joined with many of my colleagues on this Committee – Senators Schumer, Durbin, Whitehouse, Klobuchar, Franken, Blumenthal, Murphey and Hirono, as well as many others off the committee — to introduce legislation to prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Senator Christopher Murphy followed. “Dick and I and Elizabeth were there that day and as a father of a four year old and a one year old there are a lot of moments when I wish I could take back what I saw – that heaving incomprehensible grief that comes especially in those first moments of trying to understand what just happened.”

“Let me tell you what’s happening today in Newtown Connecticut.” Senator Murphy continued. “Sandy Hook Elementary School has moved and a lot of teachers haven’t come back and a lot of students haven’t returned. But in each one of these classrooms there’s a safe word. In one third grade classroom it’s ‘monkey’ and a couple of time every day a kid yells out that safe word when he gets into a conversation with a fellow student that he doesn’t want to be part of – a third grader talking about what he saw that day, the bodies he stepped over, the look that he caught in the shooter’s eye. That’s what happening in Newtown. That’s what’s happens in one of these communities that deals with these mass atrocities. It’s not just the families that grieve. It’s the trauma that washes over whole communities, like waves, in the weeks and months afterwards. Kids would be alive today in Newtown, Connecticut if the law we are proposing today were in place on December 14th 2012. It’s as simple as that. Why do we know that? We know that because the data tells us that. Despite what the gun lobby will say.”

“Forty percent of the mass killings in this country — in the history of this country –have happened since the assault weapon ban expired,” Senator Murphy said. “More kids would be alive today in Newtown today, because we know what the numbers tell us. We also know what happened that day. We know that most of these incidents end when the shooter has to reload, either the gun jams or people intervene. You know what  — to get off one hundred rounds that day in about a ten minute period of time Adam Lanza had to reload twice.”

“We know that if this law was in place on December 14th there would be little girls and boys alive today,” Senator Murphy said. “The gun lobby has said over and over again in the last several weeks that this is just a feel good piece of legislation. You know, they are right about that. It would feel really good if Alison and Charlotte and Daniel and Olivier and Josephine and Anna had got to enjoy Christmas with their parents. It would feel really good if Dylan and Madeline and Kathryn and Chase and Jesse and James took the bus to school this morning. It would feel really good if Grace and Emily and Jack and Noah and Carolyn and Jessica and Ariel and Ben were alive today. It would feel really good if parents all across this country didn’t have to wake up every morning worrying that without action their kids are at risk just like those kids in Newtown. This is going to be hard. This is going to be difficult. But to honor those twenty lives and six more in Newtown we’re going to get it done.”

The 2013 Assault Weapon Ban bill failed. Shot down by Senators representing the NRA who were willing to sell their souls to protect the guns that killed the children.

President Obama called it “A Pretty Shameful Day In Washington”.

Chris Murphy was new to Washington and he admits that he had never thought about gun control much. He followed the NRA’s talking points out of political expediency. The tragedy took place in Murphy’s old district and it fundamentally transformed him and his career. His support of the 2013 Assault Weapon Ban bill was the beginning of his pursuit of the NRA and changes to the U.S. gun laws.

For nearly fifteen hours between Wednesday morning and early Thursday, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), along with his Connecticut colleague Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), led a filibuster on the floor of the Senate aimed at addressing gun control issues in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando. The last seven minutes of Senator Murphy’s 15 hour gun control filibuster is worth watching.

Related Garn Publications: The Children of Sandy Hook vs. the U.S. Congress and Gun Violence in America

Book: The Children of Sandy Hook vs. The U.S. Congress and Gun Violence in America
Garn Press (100 pp.)
$8.95 Paperback | Available on Amazon
ISBN: 978-1-942146-59-9

The Children of Sandy Hook vs. The U.S. Congress and Gun Violence in America is a provocative analysis of the vast gap between the American people who are intent on protecting children and the people who are intent on protecting guns whatever the cost to U.S. society. The book is about the ethical failure of the pro-gun Senators who deceived the American people with the arguments they presented that led to the failure of the Assault Weapons Ban bill in 2013.

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