Sen. Murphy: U.S. 'not safer' 5 years after Sandy Hook

- This is a now-familiar political debate stirring up after mass shootings like the one in Texas.

"This isn't a guns situation," President Trump remarked during his visit to Japan. "This is a mental health problem at the highest level."

While details about the shooter's past and a motive begin to take shape, the question of how to prevent future mass shootings remains and whether the focus should be on the man who pulled the trigger or the weapon that trigger fires is as divisive as any issue in Washington.

For Sen. Chris Murphy, the issue is guns and preventing them from getting into hands of people who want to do harm. The first-term senator from Connecticut repeatedly describes mass shootings as an "epidemic of gun violence."

Sunday night, Murphy released a stinging statement directed towards members of Congress after the shooting.

"As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets," he said.

Murphy was elected to the Senate a month before the massacre at Sandy Hook and has since become one of the leading voices in the country for tightening gun laws.

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas, Chris Murphy and fellow Democrats Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Richard Blumenthal last week introduced a new bill to expand background checks for all gun buyers, which 94 percent of Americans support, according to a Quinnipiac Poll from June.

Murphy admitted to me that, right now, the chances for his bill even coming to a voter are slim. But he hopes forcing his opponents to talk about the gun issue could create change at the ballot box.

"[It] creates a pressure point, a fulcrum, for Republicans in Congress that will ultimately lead, I think, to the people who stand in the way of gun reform to lose their seats," he said.

Nearly five years after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, families of the victims are frustrated at the lack of progress made, Murphy said.

"This country is not safer than it was five years ago," he said. "They don't understand why this country won't get behind measures that are supported by the broad cross-section and the broad majority of Americans.
 

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