NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Sen. Chris Murphy Talks About Gun Violence on Senate Floor for Nearly 15 Hours

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.

Three days after 49 people were killed in a mass shooting inside an Orlando, Florida nightclub, Senator Chris Murphy held the floor of the U.S. Senate for nearly 15 hours to talk about gun violence.

Shortly after 2:00 am, Murphy said he had assurances the Senate would vote on gun legislation that would require background checks for private gun sales, and a ban of gun sales to suspected terrorists on the no-fly list.

Starting just before 11:30 am, Murphy first spoke for 30 minutes before starting to yield the floor to his colleagues for questions, including Connecticut's other senator, Richard Blumenthal, New Jersey's Cory Booker, and dozens of other lawmakers.

"Senator Murphy grieved with the families of the children and educators murdered at Sandy Hook and has been a steadfast voice for ending gun violence ever since," said Laura Maloney, press secretary for Murphy. "He is leading his colleagues in demanding Senate action because they will not accept inaction or half measures in the face of continued slaughter." 

"Senator Murphy will remain on the floor demanding the Senate adopt these measures," said Maloney.

In a statement on Sunday morning, Murphy criticized his colleagues.

"Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence," he said.

He echoed those sentiments in an interview on WNPR's Where We Live on Monday acknowledging that his words were "harsh." Listen below to the full interview:

Murphy first brought up the idea of a filibuster on Tuesday and made the final decision to do it earlier on Wednesday morning.

Below are highlights from the conclusion of Murphy's speech around 2:00 am:

"I think we can report some very meaningful progress over the course of these 13 hours. When we began this debate on the floor -- when we declared that we were not going to move forward on the CJS [Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations] bill without a commitment to talk about what happened in Orlando, to talk about how we fix it -- when we began there was no commitment, no plan to debate these measures.

"And it is our understanding that the Republican leader and the Democratic leader have spoken and that we have been given a commitment on a path forward to get votes on the floor of the Senate - on a measure to assure that those on the terrorist watch list do not get guns (the Feinstein amendment), and an amendment introduced by myself and Senator Booker and myself and SenatorSchumerto expand background checks to gun shows and to internet sales.

"Now we still have to get from here to there, but we did not have that commitment when we started today. And we have that understanding at the end of the day...

"I have been so angry that this Congress has mustered absolutely no response to mass shooting after mass shooting, in city after city that is plagued by gun violence. I'm not saying we aren't doing important work but there are 30,000 people dying every [year] on the streets of this country. And those that they leave behind -- their moms and their dads and their little sisters and brothers -- don't get the total indifference that we portray.

"Sandy Hook was three and a half years ago, and Congress hasn't passed a single measure that would make the next mass shooting, the next murder of kids in this country less likely. The American public have already made up their mind that they want a background check system that captures potential terrorists. They want to make sure that everybody that buys a gun through a commercial sale has to prove that they're not a criminal before they buy it. The American people have made up their mind.

"So we chose to ask for the two least controversial provisions possible that will still do a world of good. And I'm glad that we are on a path to get those votes. It is a necessary but insufficient response to the carnage that we witness in this country every single day. This is personal to all of us.

"SenatorKainesaid it well earlier tonight that we have scar tissue. But it's razor thin scar tissue compared to those today in Orlando that are living through the catastrophe of losing a 21-year-old son in the prime of his life, of losing a 24-year-old daughter with all of this potential ahead of us."

A Murphy spokesperson said he misspoke on the Senate floor when he said there are "30,000 people dying every day on the streets." The quote above contains a correction to 30,000 every year.

Copyright 2016 Connecticut Public