Like most U.S. lawmakers, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., reacted in horror to news of the deadly mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday. Unlike most, Murphy focused his outrage on the stranglehold he believes the National Rifle Association holds on his fellow members of Congress.
“The paralysis you feel right now — the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen — isn’t real,” Murphy said in a statement. “It’s a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits.”
Sen. @ChrisMurphyCT: “The paralysis you feel right now … isn’t real. It’s a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby.”
— Dylan Stableford (@stableford) November 5, 2017
Officials say at least 26 people were killed and 20 others were injured when a gunman opened fire on the congregation in Sutherland Springs, a small town 30 miles south of San Antonio, in the worst mass shooting in Texas state history, and the deadliest at any house of worship in U.S. history.
“My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach, once again, when I heard of today’s shooting in Texas,” Murphy said. “My heart dropped further when I thought about the growing macabre club of families in Las Vegas and Orlando and Charleston and Newtown, who have to relive their own day of horror every time another mass killing occurs.”
Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. — one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. A group of surviving family members from Sandy Hook were cheering on runners at Sunday’s New York City marathon when they learned of the shooting in Texas.
“None of this is inevitable,” Murphy’s statement continued. “I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood [the country] with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate.”
The gunman, identified by multiple media outlets as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels, Texas, was found dead after a vehicular pursuit that began outside the church when an armed neighbor confronted him.
Police say multiple weapons were found in Kelley’s vehicle. Police recovered a semiautomatic rifle outside the church, which they say he used to carry out the killings.
“As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets,” Murphy said. “Ask yourself — how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents?”
Late last month, Murphy introduced legislation to expand background checks on those purchasing weapons at gun shows, citing the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas and the one in Newtown.
“My heart breaks for Sutherland Springs. Just like it still does for Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Charleston. And Aurora. And Blacksburg. And Newtown,” Murphy added. “Just like it does every night for Chicago. And New Orleans. And Baltimore. And Bridgeport. The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something.”
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