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Murray urges common sense gun violence prevention

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Murray to Congress: Pass common sense gun laws to stop violence

In an impassioned speech, the longtime senator condemned lawmakers obstructing stricter laws.

Washington State Senator Patty Murray (D) gave an impassioned speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate March 25, one day after a shooting rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers. Murray, along with other Democrats in Congress, has pushed for common sense gun violence prevention measures for years including the passage of federal legislation to require universal background checks, ban assault weapons, established a federal extreme risk protection orders. On Wednesday, she condemned again Republican obstruction of such laws.

“If we want to get at the heart of really stopping gun violence,” Murray said. “I beg my colleagues to pull their heads out of the sand and finally start talking about what can really address this crisis of gun violence: common-sense, gun safety legislation—and there’s no getting around it.”

Here is the full text of Murray’s speech

“Mr. President, I can’t leave the floor of the Senate today without talking about the heartbreaking shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Texas yesterday.

“Nineteen children, two teachers—at an elementary school.

“These were kids who were excited for summer, playdates with friends murdered by weapons of war—this carnage is happening right here in America, in fourth grade classrooms.

“My heart breaks for the family and loved ones of these kids, these teachers not to mention the kids and educators who will carry the trauma of that day with them for the rest of their lives—but I’m also furious.

“A lot of people have characterized this tragedy as unthinkable.

“But at this point, this kind of tragedy is not unthinkable—parents in Washington state and everywhere else in America think about this all the time…

“They think about it every day when they drop off their kids at school—how can you not!?

“They thought about it after the shooting in Buffalo—at a grocery store—just 10 days earlier.

“They think about it every time there’s another mass shooting… Which is far, far too often.

“Three thousand, eight hundred and sixty five times since the Sandy Hook school shooting ten years ago—to be exact.

“What is unthinkable, is that every time this happens… Nothing changes.

“Every time, Republicans stand in the way of any meaningful action.

“That’s not just unthinkable—it’s unacceptable.

“But we don’t have to live like this—this is a solvable problem.

“Republicans need to have the courage—the decency, the basic concern for the lives of our kids—to work with Democrats on, common-sense gun safety reforms.

“They need to decide—should school be a place where our kids and teachers feel safe?

“Where they can talk about homework and class projects, where they can be kids and laugh about whatever happened during lunch or art class, or will they continue to be a place where school shooter drills are as routine as recess or algebra to our kids?

“I want my Republican colleagues to consider this.

“What message are you sending to parents and kids, to teachers and students when you won’t even allow a debate on common-sense measures like universal background checks?

“I’ve heard Republican lawmakers talk about the need to have police officers at every school.

“I wish it were that simple—but we know it is not.

“We saw yesterday that having an armed officer on site at schools won’t solve this crisis—despite the best efforts of law enforcement.

“Some Republicans have suggested arming teachers—are you kidding? Can you hear yourselves?

“Teachers didn’t sign up to be soldiers and guns have no place in our classrooms.

“Some Republicans will say—this is a mental health issue.

“So let me be clear: America is facing a mental health and substance use disorder crisis—it is serious, it requires urgency, and I am actively working on bipartisan legislation to, expand access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

“But I want to make this plain: the majority of people with mental illness do not commit violence against others.

“Treating gun violence as a mental health issue—rather than a gun issue—will never get us to the root cause of these horrific shootings.

“If we want to get at the heart of really stopping gun violence, I beg my colleagues to pull their heads out of the sand and finally start talking about what can really address this crisis of gun violence: common-sense, gun safety legislation—and there’s no getting around it.

“Universal background checks. An assault weapons ban.

“I am ready to work with any Republican to make any kind of meaningful progress here.

“States like mine have made good progress on gun safety measures to keep our communities safe.

“But we cannot count on a patchwork of laws where one state requires background checks and another right next door doesn’t.

“We need federal action. We need to get something done.

“To my constituents in Washington state and the American people, I know and understand it can be disheartening to parents around the country—to see the continued Republican obstruction on gun safety in Congress.

“Change isn’t easy.

“But let me be clear: doing nothing and letting this continue to happen is the most extreme option on the table.

“I have come to the floor of the Senate countless times to call for action to keep our kids and families safe from gun violence—just to have Republicans block our efforts again and again.

“It’s frustrating—it’s infuriating even.

“But I’ll keep pushing for gun safety laws that the majority of Americans support.

“Because we can’t give up. That’s what the NRA and other extremists want.

“The vast majority of Americans have made clear we need to make clear that we want to end gun violence.

“And I refuse to let Republicans get away with this yet again—to dance around the real issue, to distract us with conversations about arming teachers or trip wires outside elementary schools.


“We need to force Republicans to bear witness to the tragic consequences of their inaction.

“We need people and families across the country to do the same.

“No one gets to look away. No one gets to change the subject.

“I promise all of the students, parents, grandparents, and teachers—and everyone in Washington state that despite the obstruction and silence from my Republican colleagues.

“I will not stay quiet and I will keep pushing for change—and I hope the American people will do the same.

“Using our voices and our votes—we can change things we can hold Republicans accountable, and we can make progress to end gun violence.”

More from Seattle’s Child on fighting gun violence:

In the fight for stronger gun laws, you don’t have to march on the streets (unless you want to)

How to talk to your kids about gun violence and tips for keeping them safe

How to Talk to Your Kids about Violence and Terrorism 

About the Author

Cheryl Murfin

Cheryl Murfin is a certified doula, lactation educator and postpartum doula. She’s the owner of Nesting Instincts Perinatal Services in Seattle.