“I'm going to remain on this floor until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together ... that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful, bipartisan way.”
In the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting, the largest of its kind in American history, many people have asked why our politicians continually fail to take action on gun control. Even the most basic, routine background check proposals have stalled in the wake of horrific events, despite polls routinely showing that a overwhelming majority of people support tightening restrictions on access to firearms for those with criminal records, mental health issues or other potential red flags.
That cause may have just gotten a jump start in the U.S. Senate today, where Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) has launched a filibuster (watch live here on C-SPAN) in an attempt to force the governing body to vote on legislation that would ban terrorists from purchasing firearms and require universal background checks on future gun purchases. “I've had enough and I just couldn’t bring myself to come back to the Senate this week and pretend like this is just business as usual,” Murphy said Wednesday in remarks posted by Roll Call. “We've got to find a way to come together. Now I don't know how long this will take but I'm going to stand here and hold the floor while we give time to our colleagues to try and find a path forward.”
You can watch the full filibuster live here on C-SPAN. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) Image Via C-SPAN
“I'm going to remain on this floor until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together on these two measures, that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful, bipartisan way,” Murphy added as he took to the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
Though rarely used, a filibuster holds up action on the Senate floor, so long as a legislator refuses to step down during their turn speaking. It was most famously used in the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But in reality, it’s most infamously been used by folks like former Sen. Strom Thurmond, who stood on the Senate floor for more than 24 hours straight to oppose the Civil Rights Act in 1957. Ted Cruz recently also held a 21 hour filibuster in a failed attempt to end Obamacare. But in this case, it might be the catalyst to bringing some attention, and momentum, to the gun control debate.
Murphy has been joined by fellow Democrats Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in his filibuster. “I've cleared my entire day," Booker said in remarks carried by Politico. "I've cleared my evening events ... so that I can stay on this floor and support Sen. Murphy.”
Though Democrats and Republicans are about as far off as two sides can be on the issue of gun rights, Politico says there were some early potential signs of compromise, noting that Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group “Everytown for Gun Safety” revealed it was working on a compromise with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on mesures that would keep suspected terrorists from buying guns.