I wrote a post in the hours after the mass killing at Pulse in Orlando, predicting that the US Congress would do nothing, even in the face of so many deaths at the hands of a single person with an assault weapon.
I am proud to report that I was wrong.
First, some Democratic members of the House walked out on the symbolic moment of silence in protest against inaction.
On Wednesday, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut took the floor at 11:21 AM and began speaking against the lack of debate and action on gun issues from Congress, intending to hold the floor until there was a promise to bring legislation to the Senate for debate and vote.
Senator Murphy lives near Newtown, Connecticut, site of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. He had been a member of the House from an adjoining district and was newly elected as Senator at the time of the shooting. He has been in close contact with the families of the Sandy Hook victims and has long advocated for tighter gun laws and better mental health care.
In order to hold the floor, he was not allowed to leave the chamber or even to sit. There also needed to be continual talking. To help him, over thirty other Senators, mostly other Democrats but a couple of Republicans also, came to the floor to ask extended questions so that Senator Murphy could rest his voice.
Remarkably, Senator Murphy held the floor for almost fifteen hours, until in the early hours of Thursday, word came that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would schedule votes on four amendments regarding gun purchases next week.
I urge you to watch how Senator Murphy ended his marathon speech. I pray that his words will strike to the hearts of the senators so that they will vote to enact some new protections against gun violence, which is such a plague for us here in the United States.
There is a lot of work to be done. The American people are overwhelmingly in favor of restricting access to military-grade weapons and of ensuring that violent, unstable, or hate-filled people do not get their hands on guns and shoot people.
The President has been advocating on these issues for years.
Congress, listen to Senator Murphy, the President, voters, and especially the families of victims, and act.