A Democratic US senator at the forefront of a push to enact new gun control measures has said Republicans “don’t give a crap” about children or gun violence.
Connecticut’s Chris Murphy – who has been a leading force for Democrat gun control efforts since the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting killed 26 people in his state, 20 of them children – made the comment in a wide-ranging interview with Salon that was published on Tuesday.
In the interview, Murphy said that it was inexplicable for Republicans to claim they care about the wellbeing of children while thwarting efforts to shield them from gun violence, including by blocking legislation that would restrict sales of assault-style weapons.
“It is beyond me why Republicans who claim to care about the health of our kids don’t seem to give a crap about our children who are being exposed to these epidemic, cataclysmic rates of gun violence,” Murphy said.
The senator also said that a surge of gun violence in the US is being fueled by an increasing number of guns that was “really supercharged during the pandemic”.
“I don’t really think people understand how big a problem this is and how quickly it has come to overwhelm us,” Murphy added. About all that the Republican party could agree on, he continued, was “sticking up” for those who staged the deadly 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol as well as politically bludgeoning Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
Murphy’s comments were published on the same day that the president is planning to announce he is ordering the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, to crack down on gun sellers who break the law as well as to move the country “as close to universal background checks as possible”.
On a conference call with reporters, a senior administration official said last year’s bipartisan gun safety legislation – the most sweeping of its kind in three decades – “created an opening” for Biden to issue his directive to Garland without additional legislation.
The legislation last year expanded background checks for the youngest gun buyers while providing funds to mental health and violence intervention programs.
Biden’s administration believes the measure would mean fewer guns being sold without background checks.
In his comments to Salon, Murphy said a recent US supreme court decision – which found the constitution protects individuals’ right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense and said that any restrictions on gun possession must be in line with the nation’s historical tradition – contained language that was “very purposefully, very clinically” designed to allow lower courts “to bring their politics into the courtroom”.
Murphy warned that the so-called Bruen decision hinted that the supreme court “may rule that any prohibition or any regulation of guns that didn’t exist at the founding of this country is unconstitutional” – a judicial direction he called “absolutely absurd”.
He warned that this is “a pathway to invalidate almost all of our gun laws”.
“We’re definitely headed towards a very dangerous place, where Congress and state legislatures may be prohibited from passing many of the common sense gun laws that enjoy broad public support today,” Murphy said. “That’s how radical this court is.”
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