UPDATE: Sen. Murphy's filibuster ended after nearly 15 hours early in the morning of June 16. The Senate is expected to vote on four gun-control measures on June 20, two backed by Democrats, and two backed by Republicans.
“I'm prepared to stand on this floor and talk […] for, frankly, as long as I can because I know that we can come together on this issue.”
That’s how Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) explained his mission on June 15 — to hold the floor until the Senate decides to act on gun violence prevention. Murphy has temporarily yielded to other senators, frequently to his fellow democratic Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal, but his filibuster is still going, hours after it started at 11:21 a.m.
Murphy, who represents Connecticut — where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown occurred — wants the Senate to pass two measures to help reduce gun violence. One would be to keep people who are on the terrorist watch list from buying guns, and the other is to close loopholes on background checks for guns.
Here are five of the most moving quotes from Murphy’s filibuster so far.
On the suffering experienced by victims and survivors:
Our heart breaks for the people of Orlando because we know in a very real way the pain that exists there today, but we also know how that pain is really never ending, how the ripples of that pain are unceasing and unrelenting and they span generations. They span neighborhoods. They span years. Newtown is still putting itself back together, probably will be for a long time and Orlando the same.
On being fed up with the Senate doing nothing:
This isn't new to me, but I'm at my wit's end. I've had enough. I've had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I've had enough of inaction in this body.
On the uncertainty of success:
No set of laws can allow us to say with certainty that there won't still be killings in Chicago, in New Haven, and Los Angeles. There's no legislative guarantee that there won't be another Omar Mateen. But the idea that we don't even try, the idea that we don't even proffer ideas on this floor, debate them — it's offensive to those of us that have lived through these.
On conversations with those who have lost loved ones:
Almost every one of us has had a conversation with a family member who lost a son or a daughter to gun violence, and too many of us have had that collective conversation with a large number of constituents who lost a family member in a tragedy. Just speaking personally, Mr. President, I need to be able to tell them something. They need to be able to hear something that helps in their healing.
On the reason his colleagues even became senators:
I think the question is: Why are we here? Why did you ask for this job if you didn't want to confront the big questions and the big problems? Nobody denies that this is an epidemic of criminal proportions. Nobody denies that this is happening only in the United States and nowhere else in the industrialized world. Nobody denies the crippling, never-ending grief that comes with a loved one being lost. And yet we do nothing. Yet we just persist this week as if it's business as usual. Why did you sign up for this job if you are not prepared to use it — if you're not prepared to use it to try to solve big problems?