In the wake of a month with 53 mass shooting victims, Connecticut’s senators have renewed their longstanding call for stronger gun control measures.
U.S. Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal took to social media and the press last week to reiterate the urgency of passing stricter gun control laws after several major mass shootings in El Paso, Odessa and Dayton. Both senators hold F ratings from the National Rifle Association.
“I see a path forward to getting something before the Senate that could pass, but it can only pass the Senate if the President supports it,” Murphy said on MSNBC on Aug. 29.
According to a tweet from Murphy, he has spoken with President Donald Trump to discuss strengthening background checks for gun sales. He wrote that they “continue to work to find common ground” but noted that “we can’t get a bill if [Trump] and the GOP give the gun lobby veto power.” Trump indicated his support for increased background checks in early August, but also called for greater attention to mental health issues. Additionally, the White House has been working on legislation to present to Congress that would expedite the death penalty for perpetrators found guilty of committing mass shootings.
In a tweet on Sept. 1, Trump called himself the “biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country.”
Murphy came into office just a few weeks after the 2013 Sandy Hook shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut — an attack that left 26 dead, including 20 children between the ages of six and seven. In 2016, the junior senator staged a filibuster lasting more than 14 hours to force a vote on two gun control measures, although both eventually failed.
Similarly, Blumenthal has a long record of supporting gun control laws and has often lambasted Congress for its inaction. Specifically, he has called for a decrease in the influence of the NRA on the institution.
In January 2019, Blumenthal was one of 40 senators to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act, which would require background checks in the sale or transfer of all firearms — including from unlicensed sellers.
More than 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks, including 83 percent of gun owners and 72 percent of NRA members, according to a 2015 Public Policy Polling survey.
Back in Hartford, Gov. Ned Lamont blasted national leaders for failing to act in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings.
“We need leadership that will not cave to the NRA and will act in the best interest of the people of our country,” Lamont said in a statement in early August. “We need action because thoughts and prayers will not stop mass murder.”
The governor signed three gun control laws on June 3, which require the safe storage of firearms in households with children, ban ghost guns -— or a firearm without serial numbers — and ban the storage of unlocked guns in unattended vehicles.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence most recently gave Connecticut an “A-” for its gun laws. It noted that Connecticut had the fifth lowest gun death rates in the country in 2017, with 188 deaths. Connecticut has a two-week waiting period on long gun transfers and requires background checks, including at gun shows.
As of the first day of September, the United States has seen more mass shootings than days so far in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive.