WASHINGTON – Standing outside the U.S. Capitol on Monday, Senator Chris Murphy predicted that no gun safety legislation will come out of Congress until voters clear away the current leadership.
“Ultimately you need to kick out of office people that aren’t listening to the majority of Americans that want common sense gun reform,” he said.
Murphy believes that could happen this November in the midterm elections, particularly if young voters are motivated to turn out in big numbers over the gun issue.
“These young people, who don’t normally turn out in midterm elections, may be a force in 2018,” he said. “I don’t think they are going to get what they want between now and the election from this Republican Congress but they might in 2019 if they put into office a bunch of senators and congress people who are going to actually support commonsense gun changes.”
Murphy spoke briefly Monday to several dozen young activist members of Generation Progress who came from across the country to urge Congress to approve anti-gun violence legislation including universal background checks and a ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines.
From her wheelchair, Karina Sartiaguin explained that young people were here to “storm the Hill” to offer lawmakers a different view than the one delivered over the weekend at the National Rifle Association’s convention in Dallas, Texas.
“I won’t be walking as we make our demands today in Congress, instead I will be rolling my wheelchair through the halls of the Capitol surrounded by my Generation Progress family and friends to fight for our future,” she said.
Eight years ago, Sartiaguin was standing with friend outside Aurora High School in Colorado when a car drove by and opened fire. She was the only one struck by the spree of bullets and at age 15 learned she would never walk again.
“I might not be able to physically stand on my own anymore but I am standing with my voice because this country, and our lawmakers specifically, need to understand how gun violence effects young people all across America,” she said.
Murphy sees the young activists as pivotal in his efforts to enact anti-gun violence legislation since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on Dec. 14, 2012. With their help, he believes Democrats could secure the majority in the House and Senate allowing them to get votes on gun safety bills.
“I am going to do whatever I can to support candidates in 2018 who are going to tip the balance in favor of common sense anti-gun violence legislation,” he said. Republicans have made it very clear that they are not going to take up any gun bills so we’ve got to bring this to the electorate — and these young people can really make a difference.”