WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Sunday joined MSNBC’s Inside with Jen Psaki to discuss the impact of the Biden administration’s proposed rule to clarify the definition of who is engaged in the business of dealing firearms. Murphy also discussed the dangers of racist right wing rhetoric and the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
On the Biden administration’s new proposed rule to implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and expand background checks, Murphy said: “We made it clear that anybody that's in the business of selling guns, even if it's a part time business, has to be licensed and has to perform background checks. And so the Biden administration announced just this week that they are going to be implementing that section of the bill, and it is likely going to result in literally tens of thousands of guns that right now are sold without background checks, having background checks applied. And that means there's going to be a lot fewer criminals, a lot fewer people with mental illness, who are going to be able to find loopholes around the background check law to get their hands on a firearm. And that is predominantly people who are selling, you know, maybe 20, 30, 40 guns a year at a gun show or online that weren't doing background checks before who are now going to have to perform background checks. And by the way, five minute background checks that don't stop any law abiding gun owner from getting their hands on a weapon.”
Murphy highlighted the consequences of dangerous right wing rhetoric: “There is a direct through line between the glorification and endorsement of violence that is happening in right wing political circles and the usage of violence against Black, brown, gay, lesbian, transgender Americans. The folks who are out there glorifying violence that are part of Trump's movement, they are sending a signal of endorsement to people who think that they can deal with their demons by taking out violence on people that they hate.”
Murphy pushed back on some Republicans who conflate mental illness with hateful racism: “It’s really important to point out that you don't have to be mentally ill to be racist. There are plenty of people who are not mentally ill, who are hateful and prejudiced towards minorities and vulnerable populations in this country, and so it is just not true to look at many of these hate crimes and just write that away as a consequence of mental illness. There's a difference between mental illness and racism, and the folks that are distributing this racist hate material, they have to be held accountable for that.”
On the upcoming election in 2024, Murphy said: “I think [Joe Biden’s] going to beat Donald Trump by a bigger margin than in the last election, and I think that's because he's going to have a pretty incredible record to run on. And there are going to be issues like abortion that are going to drive even more voters, especially young voters, out to the polls in 2024 than came out in 2020. And I think that our success in passing things like the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is proof to those young voters that when they turn out and vote for Democrats, we actually can get things done that matter to them on issues like guns, choice and climate.”
Last week, Murphy released a statement on the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proposed new rule to specify the definition of engaged in the business as a dealer in firearms. Murphy’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act clarified the definition of who is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms as a person doing so with the intent to “predominately earn a profit.” The new rule amends the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) regulations to conform with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, clarifying who must register as a federally licensed firearms dealer and conduct background checks on gun sales.