In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, Senate Democrats, led by Connecticut's Chris Murphy, launched into a nearly 15 hour filibuster to demand that Congress take action on gun reform—something it has been conspicuously unwilling to do even in the face of seemingly endless mass shootings.
"I've had enough," Murphy proclaimed to his colleagues and onlookers. "I've had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I've had enough of inaction in this body."
Perhaps the most powerful moment of Sen. Murphy's filibuster came right at its conclusion, when he began speaking about Dylan Hockley. Standing alongside a photograph of a beaming six-year-old in a Superman t-shirt, Murphy described him as someone who "loved to cuddle," and "loved seeing the moon"—someone with an "infectious" laugh who idolized and loved Anne Marie Murphy, his special education teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Marie Murphy, he said, had made "the most courageous decision any of us could imagine" by going to Hockley and embracing him instead of running away. "You know why we know that?" he said. "Because when the police entered the classroom, that's how they found Dylan Hockley. Dead. Wrapped in the embrace of Anne Marie Murphy."
And then Senator Murphy finished his filibuster with words that put the gun debate into stark context:
It doesn't take courage to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate for two hours or six hours or fourteen hours. It doesn't take courage to stand up to the gun lobby when 90% of your constituents want change to happen. It takes courage to look into the eye of a shooter and instead of running, wrapping your arms around a 6 year old boy and accepting death as a trade for just a tiny little itty piece of increased peace of mind for a little boy under your charge.
And so this has been a day of questions. And so I ask you all this question: If Anne Marie Murphy could do that, then ask yourself—What can you do to make sure that Orlando or Sandy Hook never, ever happens again?
With deep gratitude to all those who have endured this late night, I yield the floor.
Murphy's words, it seems, had an effect on his Senate colleagues. After years of inaction when it comes to gun reform legislation, Murphy tweeted the following, early Thursday morning:
According to NBC News, the Senate will vote on whether to ban people on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms (a controversial prospect, given the heated debate about that list) as well as whether people buying guns online and at gun shows should be given background checks should be expanded to include internet sales and gun shows.
You can find all of Fusion’s coverage of the Orlando shootings here.