Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Wednesday that not passing more gun control legislation represents a “stunning failure of democracy.”
“It’s really a question of whether the people who tend to oppose these anti-gun violence measures are going to be able to survive in office when 90 percent of their constituents disagree with them,” Murphy told attendees at the Make Progress Conference in Washington, referring to a survey that found overwhelming support among Americans for expanded background checks.
“That’s really a stunning failure of democracy, the legislative branch unable to deliver on something supported by 90 percent of Americans. The question though is, are people willing to come out and vote on this issue?” Murphy said.
Murphy said gun control advocates must look at the long game and even take a cue from the National Rifle Association.
“I hope you will learn lessons from what the NRA did. The NRA didn’t win this battle overnight,” Murphy said. “They decided over a period of decades to build a political organization all across the country dedicated to increasing the ability for people to carry weapons anytime anywhere.”
He added, “We have to commit ourselves to the same legislative effort of building a political grassroots organization with millions of members and millions of dollars that can go out and win elections, and that will be a project that can take a long time, meaning it’s going to be the people in this room who are going to see the benefits of this.”
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is bankrolling the group Everytown for Gun Safety with the goal of making it a financial competitor to the NRA.
Before he was elected to the Senate in 2012, Murphy represented the House district that included Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 young schoolchildren were murdered by gunman in December 2012. Murphy has been a strong advocate for gun restrictions since.
A 2013 bill backed by the Obama administration failed to gain enough support even in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Murphy said he worries that gun violence was becoming too normalized.
“It used to be a big deal when there was a school shooting and it would dominate the news for an entire day,” Murphy said. “Now when it happens, maybe it is covered for a half an hour because it’s so regular, so normal.”
“We’ve also seen some of the bloodiest weekends in the history of this country in places like Chicago where it was a veritable war zone over the fourth of July,” he continued. “There were dozens of people killed and injured in just one weekend.”
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