Democratic lawmakers called for swift congressional action in response to the Las Vegas shooting that left at least 59 dead — the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history — with Sen. Chris Murphy saying it is “time for Congress to get off its ass and do something” on gun control.
Murphy, who led a filibuster on the Senate floor last June in protest of legislative inaction following the Pulse club shooting, called it “cruelly hollow” for politicians to not back up their words of sympathy with a governmental response.
“This must stop,” Murphy said in a statement Monday morning. “It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic.”
He added: “It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cited the attack in urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to create a Select Committee on Gun Violence to study and provide recommendations aimed at preventing future shootings. Pelosi (D-Calif.) also called on Ryan to put to a vote legislation to expand background checks that was introduced by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Pete King (R-NY).
"Congress has a moral duty to address this horrific and heartbreaking epidemic," the Pelosi wrote. "Charged with the solemn duty to protect and defend the American people, we must respond to these tragedies with courage, unity and decisive action."
The measures were endorsed by former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head while serving as a representative for Arizona in 2011, and her husband Mark Kelly. The couple, who co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group that advocates for increased gun regulation, called Sunday's shooting an act of "domestic terrorism" and urged lawmakers to take up action in response during a press conference at the Capitol Monday.
The renewed calls for gun control legislation were echoed by the other senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, who said in a statement he is “furious” at congressional inaction in the face of continued mass shootings.
“Although many details of this mass shooting remain unclear, one thing is certain: Yet again, we are watching in horror as another American community is torn apart by the terrible devastation wrought by a gunman,” Blumenthal said.
A shooter unleashed a deadly barrage on a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night, killing at least 50 and injuring at least 400 people. Law enforcement agencies later announced the suspected shooter had killed himself prior to a raid on his hotel room, which overlooked the event.
Both Blumenthal and Murphy have been outspoken in their calls for increased gun regulation, a topic that hit close to home for the lawmakers in 2012 when a shooter killed 20 children and several school officials at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren echoed the sentiments of Murphy and Blumenthal, saying that “thoughts & prayers are NOT enough."
“Tragedies like Las Vegas have happened too many times. We need to have the conversation about how to stop gun violence. We need it NOW,” Warren tweeted on Monday.
The calls were echoed by former Vice President Joe Biden and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Biden called the loss of life in Las Vegas "senseless" and urged the Trump administration and Congress to address the violence.
"How long do we let gun violence tear families apart? Enough. Congress & the WH should act now to save lives," Biden tweeted. "There's no excuse for inaction."
Clinton, meanwhile, singled out the National Rifle Association, which opposed her 2016 presidential bid, in a series of posts on Twitter Monday morning.
“Our grief isn't enough,” Clinton wrote. “We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”