U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who demanded a vote on gun violence prevention legislation for 15 hours in the Senate in June, got his five-minutes in the spotlight Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Murphy, an early supporter of Hillary Clinton, said she didn’t have to make fighting gun violence a centerpiece of her campaign.
“I’m sure people told her it wasn’t worth the political risk. But she held firm. She stood up to the NRA and pledged to take Washington back from the gun lobby,” Murphy said.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sees gun violence as “another opportunity to convince Americans that they should fear one another,” Murphy said.
He said Trump would “mandate that every school in America allow guns in their classroom.”
Back in May, Trump told the NRA that he will eliminate gun-free zones around schools. In an attempt to clarify his position on guns, two days later Trump told CNN that “I don’t want to have guns in classrooms, although in some cases teachers should have guns in classrooms, frankly.”
Murphy said he stood on the Senate floor for 15 hours because he had had enough.
“Enough of children dying in classrooms. Enough of nightly bloodshed on our city streets. Enough of our police officers being outgunned, ambushed, and cut down in the line of duty. Enough,” Murphy said.
The crowd chanted “enough” as Murphy left the stage.
Murphy was followed by another Connecticut resident, Erica Smegielski, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who was gunned down along with 20 first graders and five other educators.
“I’m here for those lives cut short, in a school, or a movie theater, in a church, at work, in their neighborhoods or homes — because those voices should never be silenced,” Smegielski said. “I am here alone — without my mother — while too many politicians cower behind the gun lobby instead of standing with American families.”
Later in the program, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson five years ago, also addressed the crowd.
“In Congress, I learned an important lesson: Strong women get things done!” Giffords said. “Let’s work together to make Hillary our president.”
The convention’s third night included speeches offering a variety of indictments of Trump from, among others, former CIA Director Leon Panetta, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vice President Joe Biden, Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine, and capped with remarks from President Barack Obama.
Bloomberg, a Republican-turned-independent who co-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns — a group that later merged with Moms Demand Action to become Everytown for Gun Safety — might have kept with the theme of the night and focused on Clinton’s gun control policies.
But instead Bloomberg reached beyond the issue of safety and delivered perhaps the most bruising blows to Trump thus far in the campaign.
Bloomberg said he doesn’t agree with Clinton on every issue, but “we must unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue.”
Addressing a television audience, Bloomberg said, “Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.”
The lines kept on coming.
“I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one!” Bloomberg said. “. . . No matter what you may think about her politics or her record, Hillary Clinton understands that this is not reality television; this is reality.”