When News Broke Of The School Shooting In Florida, Chris Murphy Took To The Senate Floor

"This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America."

Pleas for lawmakers to wait before taking action are common after incidents of mass violence, ostensibly to allow the victims and the nation time to grieve. But in the tumult of updates following Wednesday's school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Chris Murphy made clear that he is done waiting.

In 2012, the Connecticut senator was a representative in the House. His district included the town of Newtown, and that December, a mass shooter killed 20 students and six teachers at Sandy Hook, a local elementary school.  Since the Newtown tragedy, he's been a frequent advocate against gun violence — making his words to his colleagues on Wednesday afternoon hold even more weight.

As news broke of the shooting, Murphy rushed to the Senate floor to interrupt a debate on immigration and deliver an emotional speech on gun violence, one that the echoed his calls for the Senate over the past five years to take immediate action on gun violence.

"Let me just note once again for my colleagues, this happens nowhere else other than the United States of America," he began. "This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting — it only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction."

Murphy also noted that it is only February and there have already been 18 school shootings this year — a staggering statistic. Details are still emerging about Parkland shooting, but law enforcement officials told CNN at least 16 people have died. Others were injured and taken to the local hospital.

As evidenced by a study published in the wake of the Newtown shooting and reported by Quartz, school shootings in other countries are far outpaced by school shootings in the United States. Per Quartz, from 2000 to 2010, the United States had about as many fatal school shootings with multiple victims as Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Russia, and 33 other countries combined.

Lawmakers like Murphy believe that gun control legislation can help reduce the number of school shootings in the U.S., and help to prevent future violence. Among other initiatives, Murphy has previously introduced or co-sponsored legislation to ban those on the FBI terror watch list from purchasing a gun and encourage licensing requirements for handgun purchases. Critics of gun control efforts contend that stressing licensing requirements is unconstitutional.

"As a parent, it scares me to death that this body doesn't take seriously the safety of my children, and it seems like a lot of parents in south Florida are going to be asking that same question later today," Murphy said in his speech. "We pray for the families and for the victims. We hope for the best."

This story was updated at 6:11 p.m. to reflect CNN's report that the shooting took at least 16 lives.

Cover image via Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com.


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