Sen. Chris Murphy, who staged a roughly 15-hour filibuster unto the early morning hours Thursday, said later in the morning that he took his action because there was no scheduled debate on the Senate floor to force consensus on background checks for gun purchases or for making sure that terrorists on the nation's watch list can't get their hands on guns.
"We were coming off the worst shooting in American history, and there was no scheduled debate on the floor of the Senate to try to force some consensus on these issues," the Connecticut Democrat, who has been pushing for gun control reform since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shootings that claimed the lives of 20 schoolchildren in his state, told CNN's "New Day"
Democrats now believe there is a commitment to bring the votes before the Senate either this week or next, Murphy said, but meanwhile, "there was nothing that was going to happen in the United States Senate, no debate, in the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history, until this filibuster began. That was deeply offensive to many of us, in the sense that we forced that debate."
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen had been under FBI surveillance in 2013 and 2014, but was not on the nation's terror watch list or a no-fly list, and Murphy said it's important to not get caught in the trap of being "forced to design a piece of legislation that would have definitively stopped the latest mass tragedy."
Background checks also would not have stopped the Sandy Hook murders, Murphy acknowledged, but still, the families of those children and the six adult staff members who were killed are still fighting hard for gun control legislation.
"They know that it would stop thousands of people from getting illegal guns in the streets of our country," said Murphy.
And he believes that the families of the 49 people killed in Orlando will, like the Sandy Hook families, become agents for change in the nation's gun laws "to make sure others around the country don't die because of our lack of firearms laws."
Nationwide, he continued, there is an average of 80 people dying every day, or an "equivalent of an Orlando and a half every day" from gunshot wounds.
"We can't accept that the only points we have are these mass shootings. That was the point of the filibuster yesterday," said Murphy. "This is happening every day, and we have to use moments like we had yesterday, to draw attention to this broader epidemic."
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