NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Senator Chris Murphy’s talking filibuster to stop gun violence enters its fourteenth hour

Ear­ly this morn­ing, at 8:21 AM Pacif­ic Time, Demo­c­ra­t­ic U.S. Sen­a­tor Chris Mur­phy of Con­necti­cut took to the Sen­ate floor to call for action to address gun vio­lence. But instead of mere­ly giv­ing a short speech and then yield­ing the floor, Mur­phy coura­geous­ly began what has now turned into the eighth longest “talk­ing fil­i­buster” in the his­to­ry of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, demand­ing that the cham­ber act to address the nation’s gun vio­lence epi­dem­ic.

Joined by most of his col­leagues in the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus over the course of the morn­ing, after­noon, evening, and then night, Mur­phy took ques­tions and com­ments from col­leagues, but did not relin­quish the floor.

He has now been on his feet for over four­teen hours.

“Our heart breaks col­lec­tive­ly in this coun­try for the cit­i­zens of Orlan­do and as I’ll speak in a moment, in par­tic­u­lar in Con­necti­cut,” said Mur­phy as he began his his­toric, inspir­ing fil­i­buster. (See his open­ing remarks on video here.)

“Our heart breaks for the peo­ple of Orlan­do because we know in a very real way the pain that exists there today, but we also know how that pain is real­ly nev­er end­ing, how the rip­ples of that pain are unceas­ing and unre­lent­ing and they span gen­er­a­tions. They span neigh­bor­hoods. They span years. New­town is still putting itself back togeth­er, prob­a­bly will be for a long time, and Orlan­do the same.”

“I don’t think that we should pro­ceed with debate on amend­ments to this [Com­merce, Sci­ence, Jus­tice, and Relat­ed Agen­cies Appro­pri­a­tions] bill until we have fig­ured out a way to come togeth­er on, at the very least, two sim­ple ideas that enjoy the sup­port of 80% to 90% of Amer­i­cans,” Mur­phy declared.

“Two ideas, two pieces of leg­is­la­tion that would have been poten­tial­ly impact­ful with respect to the case in Orlan­do. That is one piece of leg­is­la­tion that Sen­a­tor Fein­stein has intro­duced that would sim­ply say that if you are on a ter­ror watch list, that you should­n’t be able to buy a weapon. Sec­ond, in order to make that pro­tec­tion mean­ing­ful, you also need to make sure that when­ev­er a would-be shoot­er buys a gun, he goes through a back­ground check.”

“I’m going to remain on this floor until we get some sig­nal, some sign that we can come togeth­er on these two mea­sures, that we can get a path for­ward on address­ing this epi­dem­ic in a mean­ing­ful bipar­ti­san way,” Mur­phy added.

Min­utes ago, after hours of tak­ing ques­tions from fel­low Democ­rats and remain­ing on his feet on the Sen­ate floor, Mur­phy announced that he had received word that Mitch McConnell and Har­ry Reid had been in dis­cus­sions about sched­ul­ing a vote on address­ing gun vio­lence. Exact­ly what kind of com­mit­ment McConnell made with respect to hold­ing a vote was not described, but Mur­phy sound­ed an opti­mistic note as he sum­ma­rized the infor­ma­tion that he had received.

“If you’re turn­ing in for the night, here’s the game plan: We need a vote tomor­row on gun safe­ty, and we need to win that vote. Stay tuned!” tweet­ed Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus staff.

Mur­phy’s fil­i­buster has become a top trend­ing top­ic on Twit­ter; the com­pa­ny even released a map show­ing where the tweets are com­ing from.

POSTSCRIPT: Chris Mur­phy has yield­ed the floor as of 2:12 AM Eastern/11:12 PM Pacif­ic Time. His talk­ing fil­i­buster stands as the eighth longest in Sen­ate his­to­ry.

Mur­phy end­ed his fil­i­buster by ask­ing every­one to remem­ber Dylan Christo­pher Jack Hock­ley and his teacher Anne Marie Mur­phy, who per­ished in the mas­sacre at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary in New­town, Con­necti­cut. Hock­ley and Mur­phy were lat­er found togeth­er by the police who had to clear the awful crime scene.

As Tom Cleary report­ed on Decem­ber 17th, 2012:

Dylan Hock­ley died in Anne Marie Mur­phy’s arms

Star­ing down the bar­rel of a rifle, Anne Marie Mur­phy pulled Dylan Hock­ley close to her, try­ing to shield him from the hail of bul­lets that would kill them both.

Dylan, 6, had spe­cial needs, his fam­i­ly said Mon­day. And Mur­phy was his “amaz­ing” aide, they said. He loved her, point­ing hap­pi­ly to her pho­to on the Hock­ley’s refrig­er­a­tor every day.

“We take great com­fort in know­ing that Dylan was not alone when he died,” said his par­ents, Ian and Nicole Hock­ley.

We have lost enough lives in this coun­try to gun vio­lence. Con­gress should have act­ed after New­town, and Auro­ra, and Fort Hood, and all the oth­er tragedies of years past, but it did­n’t. Con­gress has failed us too many times.

We’re incred­i­bly grate­ful to Sen­a­tor Chris Mur­phy for rec­og­niz­ing this, say­ing so, and hold­ing the floor of the Sen­ate for more than four­teen hours straight to demand that our nation’s law­mak­ers do more than sim­ply observe anoth­er point­less moment of silence in the wake of anoth­er mas­sacre.

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