Filibuster Ends at Nearly 15 Hours After Senate Democrats Win Chance to Vote on New Gun Control Measures in Wake of Orlando
Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut started the filibuster and several of his Democratic colleagues joined in
Nearly 15 hours after Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut began a filibuster on the Senate floor, Republican Party leaders have reportedly agreed to allow a vote on two gun control measures.
In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting that left 49 innocent people dead, Murphy and a slew of other Democrats took to the floor of the Senate for an old-fashioned filibuster – a maneuver that is often threatened, but seldom carried out in modern Washington.
Murphy said the efforts won gun control advocates a Senate vote on expanding background checks for gun sales and banning people on terror watch lists from buying firearms.
“We did not have that commitment when we started today,” Murphy said, according to NBC News.
Murphy, 42, spent much of the time, starting from 11:21 a.m. on Wednesday, speaking about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his home state of Connecticut in December 2012. He finished his filibuster by talking about one of the young boys who died in the tragedy.
“For those of us who represent Connecticut, the failure of this body to do anything, anything at all in the face of that continued slaughter isn’t just painful to us, it’s unconscionable,” Murphy said.
Murphy’s spokeswoman, Laura Maloney, told PEOPLE that since coming to the Senate in 2013, he has delivered 45 “Voices of Victims” speeches, telling the stories of victims of gun violence on the Senate floor.
Murphy began the long day with a big breakfast and took bites of granola bars to sustain himself through the filibuster that ended shortly after 2 a.m. ET Thursday morning. He came armed with “a lot of stories, a lot of heart-wrenching material, from the last three years,” she added.
“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,” Maloney said before the filibuster ended. “He is leading his colleagues in demanding Senate action because they will not accept inaction or half measures in the face of continued slaughter. Until private sales at gun shows and over the Internet also require stringent background checks and unless suspected terrorists on the no fly list are prohibited from legally purchasing guns, our lax gun laws will continue to allow terrorists and criminals to amass a weapons stockpile. Senator Murphy will remain on the floor demanding the Senate adopt these measures.”
Murphy’s call for the votes came as presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet with the National Rifle Association to discuss ways to block people on terrorism watch lists from buying guns. The same day, Trump told a rally in Georgia, “I’m going to save your Second Amendment.”
Murphy voiced his frustration over Congress’s failure to take action on gun control in the wake of another mass shooting.
“I am, most of the time around here, a team player, but I’ve had enough,” he said. “I just couldn’t bring myself to come back to the Senate this week and pretend like this is just business as usual. We’ve got to do something different.”