Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., took to the Senate floor after Tuesday's deadly school shooting in Texas and pleaded with his Republican colleagues to take action against gun violence, saying what happened wasn't "inevitable."
"I’m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely," said Murphy, who was elected to the Senate just weeks before the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children dead.
Murphy said the shooting deaths of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday was a uniquely American problem.
"This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day. Nowhere else do parents have to talk to their kids as I have had to do about why they got locked into a bathroom and told to be quiet for five minutes just in case a bad man entered that building. Nowhere else does that happen except here in the United States of America. And it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue," Murphy said.
In comments to reporters afterward, Murphy took aim at the Republican talking point that mass shootings are a problem of mental illness, not easy access to guns.
"Spare me the bullshit about mental illness. We don’t have any more mental illness than any other country in the world. You cannot explain this through a prism of mental illness, because we don’t — we’re not an outlier on mental illness. We’re an outlier when it comes to access to firearms and the ability of criminals and very sick people to get their hands on firearms. That’s what makes America different,” he said.
Murphy, who has made similar pleas after other mass shootings, asked his colleagues on the floor, "What are we doing?"
"Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate, why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in position of authority, if your answer as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, is we do nothing? What are we doing? Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?” he said.
"I understand my Republican colleagues will not agree to everything that I may support, but there is a common denominator that we can find," he continued.
"It will not solve the problem of American violence by itself, but by doing something, we at least stop sending this quiet message of endorsement to these killers whose brains are breaking, who see the highest levels of government doing nothing, shooting after shooting."