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Democrat Senator Chris Murphy: We Have The Votes For New Crackdown On Guns, Just Don’t Have Enough

   DailyWire.com
United States Senator Chris Murphy during a press conference in Parliament Buildings of Stormont. Picture date: Monday November 22, 2021.
Liam McBurney / PA Images via Getty Images

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) claimed on Sunday that Democrats have enough votes to enact a new crackdown on guns before admitting that they, in fact, do not have enough votes because of the filibuster.

“The fact that matter is, we have the votes in the House and the Senate for a universal background checks bill. We have a president who will sign it. It’s the rules of the Senate that prevent us from passing it. We probably have 52, 53, 54 votes in the Senate for this,” Murphy claimed during an interview on CNN. “So the rules right now are what prevent us from being able to enact the will of the public. But I also understand that this is, I think, one of the great social change movements in this nation’s history, that we can’t let failure or obstacles stop us.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA CNN:

JAKE TAPPER, HOST: Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut speaking out this week after yet another deadly shooting, this one in Michigan, where four students were killed and seven others injured.

Senator Murphy says he will consider his time in public service — quote — “a failure” if he is not able to pass a significant federal firearms reform bill.

Senator Murphy of Connecticut joins us right now.

So, Senator, this horrific violence at Oxford High School in Michigan, it was the deadliest school shooting in more than three years. The ninth anniversary of Sandy Hook is just over a week away. You obviously represent Sandy Hook in the Senate.

We have a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, a pro-gun control president, Democrat. No new gun regulations have passed. Why not?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, listen, I think it’s first important to remember that, while the nation pays attention to the epidemic of shooting in this country on days in which there is a mass shooting, 100 people every day are dying from gunshot wounds, and we have seen a dramatic uptick in violence since the beginning of the pandemic.

The fact that matter is, we have the votes in the House and the Senate for a universal background checks bill. We have a president who will sign it. It’s the rules of the Senate that prevent us from passing it. We probably have 52, 53, 54 votes in the Senate for this.

So the rules right now are what prevent us from being able to enact the will of the public. But I also understand that this is, I think, one of the great social change movements in this nation’s history, that we can’t let failure or obstacles stop us.

We’re going to have to continue to build a movement. If we don’t change the rules of the Senate, then we’re ultimately going to need 60 votes. And so we need to continue to build up our political power around the country.

TAPPER: So, Republican Senator Pat Toomey from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — and you have worked with him on this issue — he told me a few months ago — you will remember, of course, when he and Manchin, both NRA guys, put together a bill to close the so-called gun show loophole.

He said that he thinks that that could potentially get 60 votes in the Senate. But there’s been no progress on it because people who want gun reform in the Senate want big, sweeping gun reform and won’t be happy with even just an incremental step like closing the gun show loophole.

Wouldn’t that — I mean, isn’t something better than nothing?

MURPHY: Listen, I won’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, right? I want universal background checks. I want a ban on assault weapons. But I will settle for something much less, because that will save lives.

So I have been in negotiations all year with Senator Toomey, with Senator Cornyn, with Lindsey Graham, trying to find a compromise that can get 60 votes in the Senate. Maybe this shooting will bring people back to the table.

But we haven’t taken a vote this year, in part because I have asked Senator Schumer for the room to try to negotiate that compromise that you’re talking about.

Listen, I wish my Republican colleagues didn’t sort of have epiphanies on this issue only after mass school shootings. But that tends to be what happens. And so my hope is that, in the next couple of weeks, we can get back to the table and see if we can, at the very least, as you said, maybe close the gun show loophole. That alone would save a lot of lives.

TAPPER: The prosecutor in Michigan is doing something unusual. She is charging the parents of the alleged gunman with involuntary manslaughter, because not only did they buy him the gun; they ignored his disturbing behavior, searching for ammunition on his cell phone, drawing violent pictures at school. The school alerted them, and they didn’t seem to care much.

Should more prosecutors be holding parents responsible when they’re obviously not doing enough to keep their guns out of the hands of children who use them for violent ends?

MURPHY: Well, if parents violate the law, then they should be held accountable.

In this case, I don’t know the details of the Michigan law. But it looks as if this — these parents bought a gun for their child, who shouldn’t have ever possessed it. And so if parents are in violation of state law, they should be held accountable.

I do think that this really should make us think hard about safe storage laws. In Connecticut, we have on the books a law that requires parents to safely store their guns. And if those guns aren’t locked up with minors in the House, they can be held accountable, without question. Michigan doesn’t have that law on the books.

But we should pass that on a national basis. And I think we would get a lot of gun owners to support us, to simply say, if you have minors in the house, if you have weapons, you have to keep those weapons locked up. If we just made that change, not only would that prevent some of these horrific mass shooting incidents.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Suicide.

MURPHY: Suicide, right.

TAPPER: Which is — most of the gun deaths in this country are suicide, yes.

MURPHY: And accidental shootings, right?

So a safe storage law may be the kind of thing that could draw bipartisan compromise, that could get support of a lot of commonsense gun owners, because it’s not about taking anybody’s weapons away. It’s just about saying, if you’re going to own the weapon, store it safely.

TAPPER: So let’s turn to foreign policy.

President Biden’s going to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, we’re told. This call comes as — the same time that the U.S. intelligence is warning Russia’s amassing as many as 175,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, and could theoretically begin a massive military offensive within the next few months.

You’re on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You have spent a lot of time in Ukraine. Do you think Putin intends to invade? And what should the U.S. do, if anything, to come to Ukraine’s defense if he does?

MURPHY: Yes, I have been to Ukraine six times since I entered the Senate. I have seen the intelligence, and the threat is serious.

I do think that there’s no substitute for person-to-person diplomacy. And so I hope that this meeting, this virtual meeting between President Biden and President Putin can bear fruit.

But let me say this. If Russia does decide to move further into Ukraine, it would be a mistake of historic proportions for Moscow. Right now, they occupy the eastern flank of the country. That’s a part of Ukraine that doesn’t have the same sense of Ukrainian nationalism that the rest of the country does.

Ukraine can become the next Afghanistan for Russia if it chooses to move further. And it’s up to us in the Congress to make clear that we are going to be diplomatic, political, and military partners with Ukraine, that we are going to provide them with increased military assistance, so that they can defend themselves.

And I hope that we take steps in Congress in the next week to make that clear.

TAPPER: Even more lethal aid than the U.S. has already given?

MURPHY: Well, right now, we have an amendment on the floor of the Senate that would dramatically increase the amount of lethal aid.

I support it. Republicans right now in the Senate are blocking that amendment from being considered. In addition, Republicans are blocking our ambassadors from being confirmed, in particular to the E.U., where a lot of this work will be done to try to bring our allies together.

So, we have got to get our Republican colleagues to understand this is the threat that many of us believe it to be.

TAPPER: Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thanks so much for being here this morning.

MURPHY: Thank you.

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