Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy countered illegitimate president Donald Trump’s National Rifle Association speech Friday with a Twitter thread honoring victims of gun violence, an issue close to his heart as he assumed office in the United States Senate less than a month after the Sandy Hook massacre, which occurred in his home state of Connecticut.
Here's my advice. Turn off cable. Don't watch @realDonaldTrump's NRA speech. Instead, think about who we are fighting for.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) April 28, 2017
Donald Trump is the first president to speak at the NRA’s annual national convention since Ronald Reagan in 1983. In his address, Trump bemoaned President Barack Obama’s “eight-year assault” on the Second Amendment. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” Trump told the roaring audience “No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners. No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans.”
Murphy, on the other hand, posted to Twitter 11 pictures of victims of gun violence, ranging from ages six to 24. “I wanted to show some of the faces of Washington’s inaction — to share a small sliver of the lives we’ve lost because our nation is overflowing with guns,” Murphy said in a statement to the New York Times. “This issue is only controversial in the halls of Congress. Outside Washington, people understand the horror of gun violence and are increasingly unwilling to tolerate a Congress that is owned and operated by the gun lobby.”
The NRA responded by saying that “voters are sick of politicians who spend more time on publicity stunts than solving problems.” This is an odd response to Murphy’s tweets given that the Connecticut senator has worked tirelessly to pass gun control legislation, despite the refusal from the NRA-controlled GOP to take any action whatsoever to curb gun violence.
Most memorably, following the 2016 Pulse mass shooting that ended the lives of 49 LGBTQ people, Murphy launched a filibuster to force Republicans to vote on gun legislation. At the time, it was the 9th longest filibuster in American history.
Unfortunately, even when Murphy convinced Republican leadership to put two measures up for a vote, the GOP refused to budge. The amendment to ban anyone on the terror watchlist from purchasing weapons received the support of only two Republicans – Mark Kirk of Illinois and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Kirk was the only Republican to support the amendment to expand background checks to gun shows and Internet sales.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which was created after the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, gave Murphy a perfect score. Only 11 other senators received 100%. All were Democrats. The highest-ranking Republican, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, had a 66% rating. 144 members of Congress received a 0% rating, with only 12 being Democrats.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been almost 20,000 incidents of gun violence in the United States in 2017 so far, resulting in 4,831 deaths and 9,469 injuries. 109 of these incidents have been mass shootings.