Chris Murphy has called on the Senate to enact gun reform sooner rather than later (Picture: Reuters/CBS)
A congressman has made an impassioned plea to the Senate for gun reform in the wake of another mass shooting in an American school.
Nineteen children, aged between 7-10 and two teachers were killed when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas yesterday.
The tragedy comes 10 years after the Sandy Hook massacre which saw 26 people killed when a 20-year-old man broke into a school armed with a rifle.
Now, Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, who came to Congress representing Sandy Hook has begged his colleagues to finally enact gun reform and address America’s problem with gun violence.
Mr Murphy was the Democratic Congressman for Connecticut’s fifth district – which included Sandy Hook.
He took to the Senate floor yesterday to demand lawmakers do what they failed to do after the massacre.
He said: ‘Fourteen kids dead in an elementary school in Texas right now.
‘What are we doing? What are we doing? Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands. What are we doing?
‘As the kids run for their lives, we doing nothing. What are we doing? Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?
‘This isn’t inevitable. These kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else.’
Congress has been unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation since the collapse of a bipartisan Senate effort in the aftermath of Sandy Hook.
But Mr Murphy urged his colleagues to find a compromise.
‘I’m here on this floor to beg — to literally get down on my hands and knees — to beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here,’ he said.
The massacre in Uvalde is America’s deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook (Picture: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)
‘Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely,’
‘I just don’t understand why people here think we’re powerless,’ Murphy later told reporters. ‘We aren’t.’
He said he was working with colleagues, particularly reaching out to Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, to see if they could muster bipartisan support for gun violence legislation.
Even though the Democrats and president Joe Biden have slim control of Congress, bills on gun violence have been halted in the face of Republican opposition in the Senate.
Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases.
At least 19 children aged between 7 and 10 have been killed in the mass shooting in Texas (Picture: Reuters)
One bill would have closed a loophole for private and online sales. The other would have extended the background check review period.
Both languished in the 50-50 Senate where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome objections from a filibuster.
Yesterday’s tragedy in Texas appears hauntingly similar to the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, when Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and six teachers with an AR-15-type rifle that had been legally purchased by his mum.
Lanza killed himself as police arrived. Before going to the school, he had fatally shot his mum at their Newtown home.
A report by Connecticut’s child advocate said the Sandy Hook shooter’s severe and deteriorating mental health problems, his preoccupation with violence and access to his mum’s weapons ‘proved a recipe for mass murder’.
The massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde has tragic similarities to Sandy Hook (Picture: AP)
In February, the families of nine Sandy Hook victims reached a $73 million settlement in a lawsuit against Remington, the maker of the rifle used in the shooting.
They said the company should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public.
Mr Murphy acknowledged the problem of gun violence won’t be solved overnight.
‘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 said.
‘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.’
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