HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has been an outspoken voice in the call for tougher gun laws since the shooting at Sandy Hook nearly a decade ago. After that, Connecticut enacted some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Now, Murphy is joining other state leaders in calling for bipartisan support to tighten gun laws on a federal level.
Murphy said the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde that left 19 children and two teachers dead may have been a tipping point in getting the support of lawmakers who previously refused to discuss changes to the laws in place.
“We are hearing more interest in talking about real change, changes in our gun laws, more support for mental health services than at any point since the shooting in Sandy Hook,” Murphy said during a press conference Tuesday in Hartford. “We have been in dialogue with our Republican colleagues exhaustively throughout the weekend trying to find some common ground in changes in our gun laws to make sure that dangerous people don’t get their hands on dangerous weapons.”
Murphy was joined by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and violence prevention advocates, including Mark Barden of Sandy Hook Promise, Po Murray of Newtown Action Alliance, Rev. Henry Brown of Mothers United Against Violence, Jeremy Stein of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, Cindy Carlson of Moms Demand Action, and Kristin Song of the Ethan Miller Song Foundation.
Murphy is part of a bipartisan group of senators trying to find agreement on legislation including on red flag laws and the expansion of background checks. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary committee plans to vote as early as Thursday on wide-ranging gun control legislation.
The package, known as the Protecting Our Kids Act, includes Ethan’s Law, which requires the safe storage of firearms in homes with kids under the age of 18.
It was first sought by Kristin and Mike Song of Guilford. Their son Ethan was killed by an unsecured gun.
“Until this law passes, I’m not going anywhere,” Kristin said.
“We all have to be involved,” Barden said. “Everybody has to be involved. Can we start this conversation with we all want to protect our children? We all want our communities to be safer? Because we can. It’s always been possible.”
The package will likely pass the Democratic-controlled House but it will face opposition by Republicans in the Senate as many do not want to see changes in the nation’s gun laws. There is hope they can reach across party lines and find common ground on some measures.
Murphy said they are expected to have a compromise on the table by next week. If they don’t, the Senate will move forward with a debate and vote.