Click here to view video of Murphy’s remarks.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Representatives Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) and Mike Thompson (CA-5), Newtown Action Alliance, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Women’s March, Giffords, and victims’ families and gun violence survivors for a press conference to demand action on gun violence prevention. During the press conference, Murphy thanked the families of survivors and victims of gun violence for sharing their stories, and implored his colleagues in Congress to act on gun violence prevention. Murphy also predicted the newly-elected Democratically controlled U.S. House of Representatives will pass gun violence prevention legislation in the 116th Congress.
The call to action took place the morning after the 6th annual National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, commemorating the sixth anniversary of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as the 600,000 American victims and survivors of gun violence since December 2012. The press conference was attended by family members of victims from mass shootings in Aurora, and Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, as well as shootings in Chicago, Houston, and Santa Fe.
“The real thanks is to all the folks who are standing with us. We are just constantly in awe of your ability to grieve and advocate at the same time. We wish you didn’t have to do this, year after year, but as we said last night, and we repeat today, this is a social change movement of epic proportion and no social change movement of any significance or consequence in this country has succeeded overnight.” Murphy said.
“It takes years and years. It takes both setbacks and small victories. But there is no way to chart the modern history of the anti-gun violence movement over the course of the last six years other than to tell a story of our side getting stronger and stronger, and the forces of status quo getting weaker and weaker,” Murphy added.
The full text of Murphy’s remarks is below:
Thank you very much Po, thank you to Newtown Action Alliance for continuing to lead this vigil and this important event. The real thanks is to all the folks who are standing with us. We are just constantly in awe of your ability to grieve and advocate at the same time. We wish you didn’t have to do this, year after year, but as we said last night, and we repeat today, this is a social change movement of epic proportion and no social change movement of any significance or consequence in this country has succeeded overnight. It takes years and years. It takes both setbacks and small victories. But there is no way to chart the modern history of the anti-gun violence movement over the course of the last six years other than to tell a story of our side getting stronger and stronger, and the forces of status quo getting weaker and weaker. And Dick said it right, this election was a referendum on the issue of gun violence. More candidates put themselves out there as champions of change on gun violence than ever before. In a district that the whole world was watching in Georgia a year ago in a special election that Democrats lost with a very capable candidate, we nominated in the general election a survivor, Lucy McBath, who lost her son, who ran in a conservative district with her number one issue being her story of perseverance and her desire to make a change and she won. We didn’t just win in the states on the coasts or the northeast and the west. We won with gun violence champions in Colorado, in Texas, in Georgia, in Florida. This is a winning issue everywhere. And it has taken the political class a half a decade to catch up but they are finally there.
Now we will get a bill passed through the House of Representatives with the help of the people behind me. We do not yet have the votes necessary today to get everything we want passed through the United States Senate. But what we know is that we are winning, right, every single day that we grow this movement politically, every day that you have the courage to tell your stories, we are winning more and more and more.
Dick and I looked at some polling data in our caucus last week that said that for people voting for Democrats in the 2018 election the number one issue was healthcare the number two issue was guns. Not taxes, not the economy, not education, not all sorts of other things that are really important that used to be number two, and three, and four in the polls. The number two reason why people came out and voted for Democratic candidates around the country was their positions on measures that would make sure that fewer of these pictures have to displayed at events like this.
And so I’m just here to say thank you, I am here to say thank you to all the organizations that make this movement possible. To say thank you for all of the work that you do to allow us to increasingly be successful in this cause. And we are blessed to have a great coalition, and blessed to now have you know, dozens and dozens of new members of Congress who want to stand here at these events, who want to be leaders on this issue. Mike and Elizabeth have lead the gun violence task force in the House of Representatives, they can speak about this but they aren’t going to have enough room, they aren’t going to have enough seats in the room for all of the people who want to join them in their work. And that happened because of you, not because of us. And for that on this 6th anniversary of this vigil, I am greatly thankful. Thank you all.