May 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

"What are we doing?": Murphy slams colleagues on Senate floor after Texas shooting

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) slammed his colleagues for doing "nothing" to address gun violence on Tuesday, hours after a gunman shot and killed at least 14 kids and one teacher at a Texas elementary school.

The backdrop: Murphy was the representative for the district that included Newtown, where a gunman killed 26 people, 20 of whom were children ages 6 and 7, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Tuesday's shooting comes on the heels of a string of recent mass shootings, including incidents in Buffalo and Laguna Woods.

What they're saying: "What are we doing?" a visibly emotional Murphy said on the Senate floor. "Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons we have another Sandy Hook on our hands."

  • "Our kids are living in fear every single time they set foot in the classroom, because they think they're going to be next."
  • "Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate ... if your answer is as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives — we do nothing?" he asked his colleagues.
  • "Why are you here, if not to solve a problem as existential as this?" he added. "This isn't inevitable. These kids weren't unlucky. This only happens in this country, nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking they might be shot that day."
  • "And it is a choice — it is our choice to let it continue. "

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had a different response on Tuesday evening. He told CNN that people "are grieving horrifically" but that gun control is not the solution.

  • "You see politicians try to politicize this. You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
  • "That doesn't work," he said, advocating instead for more armed law enforcement on school campuses.
  • "We are seeing way too many of these horrific mass murders. And we need to devote far more law enforcement resources to stopping violent criminals, preventing these kinds of absolute acts of evil."

The big picture: President Biden has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and all public grounds to honor the victims of Tuesday's shooting.

  • "His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event, and he will speak this evening when he arrives back at the White House," press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
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