Conn. senators recount Newtown tragedy, urge support for gun control law

“The worst reality is this, if we don’t do something right now, it’s going to happen again,” Murphy said. “But really it’s happening every day, but this country has gotten so callously used to gun violence that it’s just rain drops.”

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Murphy also used the words of NRA President David Keene against him. Keene had said that the Senate is considering “feel good” legislation that wouldn't actually prevent gun violence. Murphy said it would "feel good" if those 20 children were still alive today.

“Well [Keene is] right about one thing, it would feel really good if Daniel Barton got on the bus this morning to go to school. … It would feel really good if Ben Wheeler was able to enjoy this beautiful spring day,” Murphy said with photos of the children behind him. “That’s our task, to beat back all the naysayers, and I think we’re good enough to change the way things are.”

The Senate gun reform bill, S.649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, would expand background checks on gun purchases, create new penalties on straw purchases and include new funding for school security. The bill doesn’t include an assault weapons ban or limits on magazine clip capacity — although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to allow a vote on those provisions as an amendment. Unless agreement is reached sooner, the first procedure vote to proceed to debate on the bill will occur on Thursday.

A group of GOP senators, lead by Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), have threatened to filibuster any gun control reforms because they say it would violate the Second Amendment. Murphy said that Congress has “botched” the gun control debate by making it about gun “rights” rather than the rights of children not to be threatened by violent gun acts.

“We’ve really botched a conversation in this place about rights and rights really are at the core of this debate,” Murphy said. “How gravely do we really risk tyranny if we require that someone reload after 10 clicks?”

Both Connecticut senators urged their colleagues to also support the assault weapons ban and limits to ammunition clips. Murphy pointed out that the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary shot off 154 bullets in a matter of 10 minutes.

Blumenthal said he would never forget what he saw that day when he met with families of the victims at the fire station on Dec. 14, after the shooting. He added that most Americans now support the gun control reforms advocated by Democrats.

“Those sights and sounds changed America, we are different today because of it,” Blumenthal said. “Because we know we can and must do something about it.”