WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, on Wednesday announced he will vote against the minibus appropriations package due to a problematic provision that will make it more difficult for the federal government to address our nation’s gun violence epidemic.

“I have some bad news – buried in the appropriations bill being voted on this week is a terrible new gun policy rider that significantly rolls back the firearms background check system. You need to know about this – it’s bad enough that I will vote against the entire bill.

“Republicans (and one or two Democrats) pushed for the new rider that allows, for the first time in 30 years, veterans judged by the VA to be mentally incompetent to buy guns. These are very, very mentally ill veterans – those at the highest risk of suicide. I can’t sugarcoat this: this provision – which could result in 20,000 new seriously mentally ill individuals being able to buy guns each year – will be a death sentence for many. It’s unacceptable this provision was pushed by Republicans. Democrats shouldn’t have acquiesced.

“I voted for this appropriations bill when it cleared the Senate, hopeful I could later eliminate or modify the provision. I was unsuccessful and now I cannot vote for final passage. Not with this many lives in the balance.

“The gun safety movement wins more than we lose now. The 2022 gun bill, which led to a historic 12% on year reduction in urban violence, is proof of our strength. More wins are ahead. But this setback is evidence that we must stay vigilant. Maybe we let our guard down here.

“I’m voting no because I do not accept a return to a time when the gun lobby could bury gun riders in appropriations bills (which happened frequently before Sandy Hook). This cannot happen again. And it won’t. If we keep organizing and growing.”