WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement regarding Wednesday night’s fatal shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“My sincerest condolences go out to the family members, friends, and loved ones of the nine individuals who tragically lost their lives as a result of last night’s horrific shooting. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Charleston community as they endure the grief and pain of this senseless act of violence and hate.

“The question for political leaders is whether we can live with ourselves if we continue our thundering silence in the face of these seemingly endless tragedies. Whatever you think the answer is – changing firearms laws, fixing our mental health system, increasing resources for law enforcement – the time to act was long before today. The excuse that legislative action is not a guarantee that tragedy won't strike again is just a mask for cowardice or cold-heartedness. I shudder to think what it says about us as a nation if we don't even try to make a good faith attempt to end this carnage."