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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 17, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 25
Senate Dems demand action on gun violence

Sens. Murray and Cantwell join filibuster
Section One
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Senate Dems demand action on gun violence

Sens. Murray and Cantwell join filibuster

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell joined other Democrats in a 15-hour filibuster led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) demanding action on a bill to curb gun violence.

Murphy launched the filibuster June 15, following the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. The shooter, using a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle, shot more than 100 people - fully one-third of the crowd at the Pulse nightclub.

Murray referred to the shooting in her opening remarks to Murphy when he yielded the floor to her during his marathon speech.

'I appreciate everything you are doing,' she said to Murphy.

'Few senators have a better understanding of this issue. As we mourn for the victims and families that were impacted by the horrific violence and terror against LGBT and Latino Americans in Orlando last Sunday, we are reminded once again that nowhere is safe from the epidemic of gun violence in our country&'

Murphy has led Senate Democrats' efforts to pass gun legislation since he took office, only moths after the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting in his home state of Connecticut.

Under Senate rules, he was able to bring the body's proceedings to a halt by talking continuously for 15 hours. Other Senate Democrats like Murray and Cantwell helped out by interrupting him to 'ask questions' - in reality making short speeches while giving Murphy time to catch his breath.

'I am prepared to stand on the Senate floor and talk about the need to prevent gun violence for as long as I can. I've had #Enough,' Murphy tweeted as he launched his filibuster.

In her remarks, Murray referred to two notorious shootings here in Washington.

'In 2014, a man walked into an academic hall at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, shooting three students and taking the life of a freshman,' she said.

'And later that year, a 15-year-old boy shot five other students, killing four, at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, with his father's gun. These shootings were absolutely devastating, to parents, siblings, friends, teachers, entire communities in Washington state. And these were just two examples and just in my home state.'

Her constituents are 'asking - begging - for us to do something,' Murray added.

'It sickens me that in America today, parents have to wonder if their children will be safe when they go to the movie theater, the mall, or just to school for the day,' Murray said. 'Every time after there is a new mass shooting, I hear the same questions from my constituents back home in Washington state - what is Congress going to do to stop this?'

Murphy called off the filibuster after getting assurances from Republican Senate leaders that they would allow a vote on Sen. Diane Feinstein's bill allowing the US attorney general to ban gun sales to suspected terrorists, including those on watch lists, if there is 'reasonable belief' the weapons may be used to carry out an attack.

In a statement to SGN, Murray said she was satisfied with the Republicans' agreement to call a vote on 'common-sense' gun restrictions.

'Following Sunday's attack in Orlando, a horrific act of violence and terror against LGBTQ and Latino Americans, I felt it was so important to echo what I'm hearing from families in our state,' Murray wrote.

'People want action, and after 14 straight hours of stories of how gun violence has affected so many communities, I am glad Republicans agreed to hold a vote on these common-sense fixes we are proposing - to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and to expand background checks.'

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