Connecticut Sen. Christopher Murphy addressed the Senate yet again this week on the issue of gun violence. It was the 33rd time he has done so since taking office in 2013.
This week’s speech followed a Washington event honoring anti-gun “champions,” to use Murphy’s term, hosted by Connecticut-based anti-gun advocate organization Sandy Hook Promise.
In addition to his regular “voices of the victims” speeches, Murphy, along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other senators, has proposed legislation intended to curb gun violence. The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, for example, proposed last year, would list individuals prohibited from buying a firearm in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act of 2015, S.407, proposed earlier this year, would regulate large capacity ammunition feeding devices. Last year’s assault weapons ban sought to regulate only the largest weapons and the Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act, also from last year, would have made it easier to prosecute individuals accused of domestic violence with a gun.
None of these measures were approved by Congress.
Murphy’s speeches on the subject are always melancholy, though his latest oratory took on a more dejected tone, following as it did the massacre in South Carolina of nine Bible study group members.
Mass shootings, Murphy said, have become “as commonplace as rainstorms” since the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
Since 2011, the number of mass shootings in the United States has tripled, he said.
Though he acknowledged that the efficacy of gun restrictions is a question still in debate, Murphy said that Congress could have a tremendous impact should it choose to act.
“Separate and aside from the specific case-by-case impact of any law is the collective, moral, and psychological effect of non action. No matter how maligned Congress becomes, we still set the moral tone for the nation,” he said. “That’s why in my heart of hearts, I believe that our silence has made us complicit in these murders. I don’t care that an assault weapons ban or a universal background check maybe wouldn’t have stopped the slaughter in Charleston.”
“When we do nothing year after year, our silence sends a message of endorsement to the killers,” he said.
Murphy’s final statement on the floor of the Senate this week was perhaps the most meaningful, delivered off the cuff as it may have been.
“I note the absence of a quorum,” he said.