Dem senator: Removing Confederate flag 'doesn't cut it'

By:  Jordain Carney
The Hill

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Wednesday suggested that Washington should take up gun control legislation in the wake of a church massacre in South Carolina, calling discussions to remove the Confederate flag an "insufficient response."

"Removing one flag from one building in South Carolina doesn't cut it. Neither does a handful of retailers ceasing to sell Confederate flag paraphernalia," Murphy said from the Senate floor. "Removing the Confederate flag is an insufficient response."

Murphy is part of a coalition of Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who have called for lawmakers to jump-start legislation to reign in guns in the wake of a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that killed nine people.

"In my heart of hearts, I believe that our silence has made us complicit in these murders. ... When we do nothing year after year, our silence sends a silent message of endorsement to the killers," the Connecticut Democrat added.

The Senate previously failed to expand background checks in 2013 in the wake of a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Murphy's home state of Connecticut. Many gun control advocates acknowledge that the Charleston shooting is unlikely to spark new legislation in Congress.

But Murphy suggested that shouldn't stop lawmakers from taking up gun control or mental health proposals.

"These mass shootings have become as commonplace as rainstorms," he said. "[If] you can't talk about anti-gun violence policy the day after a large number of Americans are shot, then you will never talk about anti-gun violence policy because on average 86 people die from gun violence every single day."