Murphy says lawmakers 'afraid of gun industry'

Washington — Connecticut Democrats were among the first to renew calls for Congress to act on gun control after a mass shooting in Las Vegas late Sunday left at least 59 dead and more than 500 wounded.

The attack by a lone suspect, Stephen Paddock, 64, considered the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, fueled a new round of calls for stricter federal gun control measures, pitting those who want more restrictions in place against staunch defenders of Americans' right to carry firearms.

"It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren't public policy responses to this epidemic," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in a statement. "There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It's time for Congress to get off its ass and do something."

Murphy also tweeted, "To my colleagues: your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he is "more than frustrated, I am furious."

Since the massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown in December 2012, Connecticut's lawmakers have been on the forefront of the gun safety campaign in Congress.

But since the election of Donald Trump to the White House and with GOP control of both houses of Congress, gun control advocates have been on the defensive this year.

Congress is now considering a law that would remove restrictions on the sale of gun silencers. The legislation, called the Sportsman Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, was delayed by the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a lobbyist and two Capitol Hill police officers in June.

The frustration of Connecticut's Democratic lawmakers was palpable.

"Once again, Congress will retreat into grief and silence," said Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District. "After the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year, I excoriated Congress for its continued inaction in the face of endless bloodshed — not only mass shootings, but the ceaseless gun violence that butchers tens of thousands of Americans each year."

Himes also said, "Until we face down the gun lobby and have the spine to take the steps necessary to protect our families, there is blood on our hands and this tragic, terrible story will play out again and again and again and again ... ."

Ana Radelat is a reporter for The Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org). Copyright 2017 © The Connecticut Mirror.

aradelat@ctmirror.org

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