As spotlight shifts to immigration, senators hope to renew gun debate
As the congressional spotlight turns to immigration reform following the Senate’s rejection of increased gun control measures, Connecticut’s senators are trying to draw out any remaining momentum for changes to gun laws.
“If we stand still and do nothing, there is going to be another massacre. Someone else is going to walk into a crowded building with an AR-15,” said Sen. Chris Murphy.
While Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, remain hopelessly optimistic that they will be able to rally the five votes needed before the end of the year, the lawmakers acknowledge that they have not yet gotten any of their Senate colleagues to change their vote.
The senators said they are counting on a public lambasting of those who voted against the bill in order to pick up the votes for the bills that were defeated last week.
“This political pressure will ratchet up to cause senators to change their mind,” Murphy told reporters at the state Capitol Friday. “We are seeing a growing groundswell — a backlash” toward the senators who voted against the bill.
Blumenthal said the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre will continue to lobby for changes.
“They were in the hall of Congress changing minds and votes. Their effect — and the Connecticut effect — are alive and well,” he said.
The senator’s call for another vote on the bill before the end of the year comes as congressional leadership and President Obama have turned the debate to immigration reform.
“Gun control is not the only pressing issue in this country,” said Murphy.
“They need a little bit of time, too. [Senators] can’t just come back and say, ‘Oh well, last week I voted one way and now I am going to vote differently. They need some time to hear from their constituents,” Blumenthal said.
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