Washington – The day after California’s mass shooting, Richard Blumenthal Chris Murphy and other Senate Democrats pressed for largely symbolic votes on a couple of gun control measures. As most expected, they lost.
During the debate Thursday on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Connecticut senators pressed for votes on an amendment that would expand FBI checks of prospective gun buyers to include sales at gun shows and from individuals on the Internet. Another measure would bar the sale of guns to people on terror watch lists.
The votes were largely a symbolic effort to put their Republican colleagues on the record on gun safety legislation the day after 14 people were killed and 21 wounded at a holiday party in San Bernadino, Calif. President Obama is expected to veto the bill that would void the ACA.
The amendments were rejected on a 47-50 and 45-54, respectively.
Before the vote, Murphy said he did not know if the amendments would succeed or not, but he and other Senate Democrats felt compelled to “show the American public that there is a group of sane people in Congress that realize the status quo is not acceptable.”
Murphy touched off a political firestorm Wednesday with a tweet that chided politicians who said their “thoughts and prayers” were with the victims of the San Bernadino shootings, but support gun rights.
“Your “thoughts” ought to be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your “prayers” should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again,” Murphy tweeted.
In the spring of 2013, a few months after the Sandy Hook shootings that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, the Senate rejected a bill that would expand FBI background checks of gun sales.
At a press conference with other Democrats Thursday, Murphy said, “Members of Congress don’t get elected to send sympathy tweets.”
Others picked up the theme.
“As Senator Murphy pointed out, thoughts and prayers are not even close to enough,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, R-N.Y.
Blumenthal said “prayers and platitudes are not enough.”
After the gun control amendments were defeated, Blumenthal said the Senate “continued its complicity in the gun violence epidemic that plagues our country and continues to take innocent lives every day.”
“Even after yesterday’s tragic massacre in San Bernardino – the 355th mass shooting in America this year -- the Senate failed to approve commonsense, life-saving measures to reduce gun violence,” Blumenthal said.