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Murphy On State of the Union: We Need To Have A Conversation About The 60 Percent Of Counties Refusing To Implement Gun Safety Laws

Government and Politics

November 27, 2022


WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Sunday joined CNN’s State of the Union with Dana Bash to discuss next steps for the gun violence prevention movement in the wake of the tragic shootings in Colorado and Virginia.

On the potential to pass an assault weapons ban, Murphy said: “I'm glad that President Biden is going to be pushing us to take a vote on an assault weapons ban. The House has already passed it. It's sitting in front of the Senate. Does it have 60 votes in the Senate right now? Probably not. But let's see if we can try to get that number as close to 60 as possible. If we don't have the votes, then we'll talk to Senator Schumer and maybe come back next year with maybe an additional senator and see if we can do better.”

Murphy continued: “If we passed an assault weapons ban, we would see less mass shootings in this country. Yes, there are already tens of thousands of assault weapons on the street. Nobody's talking about taking those weapons away from individuals. We're just talking about stopping new sales, but if you look at some of the most high profile mass shootings in the last couple of years, many of those mass shooters bought the weapon just days before carrying out the crime. And so if those weapons were no longer commercially available, only in possession of those who had bought them previously, I think a lot of mass shootings would have been prevented.”

Murphy highlighted that Colorado Springs is a so-called “Second Amendment sanctuary” county, which means they refuse to implement state and federal gun safety laws like Colorado’s red flag law. Murphy proposed requiring counties to certify that they enforce state and federal gun laws in order to be eligible for Department of Justice (DOJ) Byrne JAG grants: “The majority of counties in this country have declared that they are not going to enforce state and federal gun laws. They have decided that they are going to essentially refuse to implement laws that are on the books. That is a growing problem in this country…I think we have to have a conversation about whether we can continue to fund law enforcement in states where they are refusing to implement these gun laws. I'll talk to my colleagues about what our approach should be to this problem, but 60% of counties in this country are refusing to implement the nation's gun laws. We've got to do something about that.”

On the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting and the toll gun violence takes on a community, Murphy said: “You have to understand that communities that go through a mass shooting like this, Sandy Hook, Uvalde, now Colorado Springs, they're never the same. And Newtown will never ever be the same. Yes, it brings some measure of peace that we have passed legislation now that will at least provide a little bit of downward pressure on the number of shootings in this country. But every single holiday when there's an empty seat at the table for those families in Sandy Hook or frankly families in Hartford or New Haven or Bridgeport who have lost victims to gun violence, it's another reminder of just how unique this epidemic is in the United States.”