Murphy was on the House floor in 2012 when a shooting occurred in his district, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 20 children ages 6 and 7 and six adults. Now, a decade later, another gunman had entered an elementary school and taken the lives of 19 young children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas.
“What are we doing?” Murphy said, raising his voice. “Why are we here if not to try to make sure that fewer schools and fewer communities go through what Sandy Hook has gone through, what Uvalde is going through? … I am here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my knees and beg my colleagues: Find a way forward here. Please work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”
Photos: The scene after a deadly shooting at a Texas elementary school
The aftermath of Sandy Hook was the closest Congress came in a decade to passing significant changes to the nation’s gun laws, but when a modest bill to strengthen background checks came to a vote in the Senate, only four Republicans voted in favor. while four Democrats, none of whom are still in office, voted against it. Since then, there has only been frustration and anger following mass shootings at places of worship, stores, concerts, nightclubs, yoga studios and schools, leaving many to fear that anywhere in America could be next.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Republicans of stealing the lives of young children, “who will never experience the joys of graduating from school, pursuing the career of their dreams, falling in love and even start a family of their own. .” Describing the shooting as “a crisis of existential proportions,” Pelosi called in a tweet for senators to finally vote. “The House of Representatives passed bipartisan, common-sense, life-saving legislation.”
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) summed up the shock and anger Democrats feel toward their fellow Republicans, also noting that legislation passed in the House last year he had been languishing in the Senate.
“How many more times will Senate Republicans express their outrage over horrific shootings like the one today in Uvalde, Texas, and then block meaningful, bipartisan background check legislation supported by nine out of ten Americans and the most responsible gun owners? ?” he said in a statement. “How many more times?”
From Sandy Hook to Buffalo to Uvalde: Ten Years of Gun Control Failure
House Democrats passed two bills in March 2021 to strengthen the country’s gun laws by closing what they see as loopholes and expanding background checks for gun buyers. If enacted, a bill would have tightened background check rules to disallow a gun sale from taking place if the check is not completed after three days.
The “Charleston Loophole” legislation, named for the 2015 massacre at a black church in South Carolina, would extend the review period to 20 days. A separate bill would have required background checks to close what’s known as the “gun show loophole,” which allows buyers to waive a review if they buy a firearm at a gun show or at a gun show. line.
Both bills passed overwhelmingly with the support of Democrats, but were never accepted in a 50-50 Senate, where it would take 10 Republicans to send the legislation to the president’s desk.
Twitter users resurrected a tweet from Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Tex.), who represents Uvalde, in which the congressman bragged about voting against both bills, noting in the tweet that it was still “ A proud supporter of the Second Amendment and will continue to do everything I can to oppose gun grabs by the far left.”
Gonzales added his voice Tuesday to the chorus of lawmakers from both parties who immediately shared statements of horror and sadness over the shooting.
“As we learn more details of today’s events in Uvalde, I am heartbroken for our South Texas community. It is devastating when our innocent children become victims of senseless violence. We are devastated,” he tweeted.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said on Twitter that he was “completely sick and heartbroken,” that he was “praying” for the community and that there were “too many of these shootings.” Cruz, as well as former President Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (right), are scheduled to speak Friday at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston, about 275 miles from Uvalde.
Angry critics of Cruz fired back at him on Twitter, including Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who wrote“Just so we’re clear, fuck you @tedcruz you fucking baby killer.”
Many lawmakers noted that the country was still reeling from an attack on a black community in Buffalo a week ago that killed 10 people in a supermarket. After that apparently racially motivated attack, Democrats privately acknowledged that changes to gun laws would only stall in the Senate. Instead, they set their sights on speeding up a bill that would expand the ability of federal agencies to track and analyze any domestic terrorist activity, including white supremacist groups.
The House passed the legislation last Wednesday with overwhelming Democratic support. The legislation will go before the Senate on Thursday but is unlikely to win the support of the 10 Republicans needed to overcome a filibuster.
“I am sick and angry. I am furious that ANOTHER senseless school shooting has left at least 15 families without their loved ones, including 14 precious, innocent children and a dedicated educator, just days after 10 people were killed in Buffalo,” CA Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger tweeted. (D-Md.), after the initial report of casualties, before the death toll rose. “To my colleagues across the aisle: We have had enough of your mere thoughts and prayers. We need action NOW.”
When gun laws fail to stop a mass shooting
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who was involved in the last significant effort to craft federal legislation responding to mass gun violence after several mass shootings in the summer of 2019, said “threads of hope” remain. that an agreement can be reached. beaten.
“I am reliving the pain and sorrow that we felt in that parking lot when we saw parents who knew they would never see a 5- or 6-year-old again and never have that child to hug or kiss again,” she said. he said she, referring to Sandy Hook. “I don’t know how you can watch that happen and not feel, ‘I have to do something.’ ”
The 2019 talks centered on a potential “red flag” law, also known as extreme risk protection orders, that would allow authorities to keep guns away from people deemed to pose a threat.
Sen. Thom Tillis (RN.C.) questioned the notion that Congress was obligated to do anything, particularly with few known facts about the Uvalde shooting.
“I don’t think you’re going to find much in the record to indicate that this 18-year-old … was affected in any way by the actions or inaction of Congress,” he said.
Tillis said he was skeptical of red flag laws, saying “pretty much every one I’ve seen here has been one that sweeps away law-abiding gun owners.” [in] which I consider an overreach,” he said.
Blumenthal rejected the idea that any legislation had to be tailored to the circumstances of any particular shooting.
“There is no single panacea here. There is no way to match a single massacre with another single proposal. The point is that we know that the combination or one of these actions will save lives,” he said, adding: “There is no excuse for inaction. Indeed, inaction is complicity if my fellow Republicans do not put their votes where their thoughts and prayers are.”