Sen. Chris Murphy (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senator powerfully indicts colleagues for gun control cowardice: "We are essentially sending a message of quiet endorsement of these murders"

Conn. Sen. Chris Murphy says Congress' inaction "has become complicity"


Sophia Tesfaye
August 28, 2015 7:39PM (UTC)

Sen. Chris Murphy is completely fed up with his congressional colleagues' failure to act on gun safety reforms, and after yet another high-profile mass shooting this week, he's blasting his fellow elected leaders for "sending a message of quiet endorsement of these murders."

On CNN's "Newsroom with Carol Costello," the Connecticut Democrat said he thinks "it's an absolute stain on this nation that there are have been more mass shootings this year than there have been days in the year. We shouldn't accept that in Congress."

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The Washington Post reported this week that America is averaging more than one mass shooting per day in 2015.

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown, Connecticut, Murphy has become a fierce advocate for expanded gun control and in the wake of this week's execution of two journalists live on-air, the senator is making his disgust with his colleagues' inaction perfectly clear, telling CNN he believes Congress' failure to act after Sandy Hook inspires further violence:

This whole culture of mass violence in which Congress does nothing, I think sends a message to a lot of these individuals who are becoming unhinged in their mind that it's OK to go out and commit these murders because no one seems to be doing anything to stop it, and so why should I think any differently than everybody else that I see on the news carrying out this kind of violence.

And in an interview with the Huffington Post's "So, That Happened" podcast this morning, Murphy said "Congress' silence in the face of this rash of mass shootings has become complicity."

"We are essentially sending a message of quiet endorsement of these murders," Murphy said. After citing the level of urban gun violence, Murphy blasted Congress for throwing its hands up in the face of an epidemic: "I've never been more offended by anything in my life than the absolute inability for Congress to even have a debate about how we might be able to do things differently."

But Murphy remains hopeful, saying he believes that "change is going to happen":

I just don't think that democracy could work when you have 90 percent of the American public that want changes in our gun laws like universal background checks and Congress not responding. It may take a series of elections before we get there but I think there is clear momentum for a comprehensive look at how we reduce violence.

Murphy conceded that the NRA is much more powerful than he initially believed in the aftermath of Sandy Hook but argued that "we have to remind Democrats ... when you vote with the NRA, they don't care":

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Mark Begich voted with the NRA. He voted against the background checks bill. And they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat him in Alaska. So we also have to remind Democrats that it's not like you're gonna buy yourself any political favors by voting with the NRA. They want Republicans. Period. Stop. They don't want Democrats who are with them. They just want Republicans in charge of every seat.

"Just the action of Congress, in any way shape or form, will have a chilling effect on this trend," he predicted.

Listen to Murphy's full interview with Huffington Post's "So, That Happened" podcast. His comments begin at the 8:25 mark.


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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