Concern over the issue of gun violence reached critical mass on Capitol Hill this week.

On Wednesday, Democratic senators mounted a gun control filibuster, initiated by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who said on Twitter that he was prepared to “talk about the need to prevent gun violence for as long as I can.”

Like many people in the United States, Murphy has had enough of the political gridlock on the gun issue, NPR reports.

“For those of us that represent Connecticut, the failure of this body to do anything, anything at all in the face of that continued slaughter isn’t just painful to us, it’s unconscionable,” Murphy said, referring to the 2012 Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings, according to NPR. “I can’t tell you how hard it is to look into the eyes of the family of those little boys and girls who were killed in Sandy Hook and tell them that almost four years later, we have done nothing, nothing at all to reduce the likelihood that that will happen again to another family.”

Other Democratic senators have joined Murphy for the filibuster and reportedly are signed up for speaking slots until 10:30 p.m. EDT.

Watch the live stream now.

Citizens can also call their congressional members to express their opinions on the filibuster.

On Tuesday, several Democratic members of Congress signaled their exasperation over what they view as their colleagues’ inaction on the matter by reacting pointedly to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s request for a moment of silence to commemorate the lives lost in Sunday’s attack at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.

According to The Boston Globe:

As he crossed his chest and bowed his head, most of the chamber followed suit.

But a handful of Democrats walked out.

What followed the silence was an eruption of protest from Democratic representatives critical of Congress’s inability to pass—or on Monday even consider—gun control legislation that has been proposed in the wake of an American mass shooting epidemic. Democrats shouted ‘‘Where’s the bill?’’ and ‘‘No leadership!’’ after Ryan silenced Democratic South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn’s attempt to ask when gun legislation would be considered, reported the Associated Press.

… Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., whose district borders Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed inside an elementary school in 2012, was the first to announce Monday afternoon that he would not show up for the moment of silence this time. He addressed the stance on the House floor, and said in a tweet, ‘‘Our silence does not honor the victims, it mocks them.’’

Himes called the ritual ‘‘obnoxious expressions of smug incompetence’’ in an interview with the Associated Press, and late Monday on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, he said in the immediate aftermath of the shooting he thought about how the inevitable moment of silence for the Orlando victims would be about the dozenth time in recent memory he’d make that ‘‘dreary trudge’’ to the House floor because of ‘‘another mass slaughter.’’

Massachusetts Democratic Reps. Katherine Clark and Seth Moulton also announced Monday that they wouldn’t attend moments of silence in Congress following Sunday’s tragedy.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson


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