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In a speech on the Senate Floor, Senator Murray demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bring HR 8, bipartisan legislation which would implement universal background checks, up for a vote in the Senate 

Universal background checks supported by 89% of Americans

Despite repeated calls for action from communities affected by gun violence, Senate Republicans and President Trump have refused to take action—even in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio last month 

Senator Murray: “The President and Senate Republicans continue to make clear they are more interested in protecting the NRA than families in my home state and across the country”

***VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S SPEECH AVAILABLE HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined her Senate Democratic colleagues to call on Senate Republican leaders to take up a vote on HR 8, the bipartisan universal background checks bill that has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, during an evening of action on the Senate floor to address the gun violence epidemic plaguing the country. In her remarks, Senator Murray demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bring the bill up for a vote, following mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton, and Midland, and highlighted that universal background checks legislation is supported by 89% of Americans.

“The House has passed universal background checks legislation, HR 8, with bipartisan support, but it’s now languishing in the Senate despite our calls for a vote, all because the Majority Leader will not bring it up. And President Trump, who is so willing to use his bully pulpit for far less worthy causes, hasn’t used it to take action in ways that could save lives right now.” Senator Murray said. “In other words, the President and Senate Republicans continue to make clear they are more interested in protecting the NRA than families in my home state and across the country.”

In addition to universal background checks, Senator Murray also outlined other steps Congress could take to reduce gun violence, including taking up legislation to limit magazine sizes, revive the assault weapons ban, invest in gun violence prevention research, and expand access to Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which have been implemented in Washington state. Senator Murray also used her remarks to highlight the important work being done by advocates and communities impacted by gun violence in Washington state and nationwide to pass common-sense gun safety legislation, including the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and multiple Moms Demand Action chapters. In spite of these efforts, Senate Republicans and President Trump have refused to take any action to curb gun violence.

Today’s speech was Senator Murray’s most recent step in her continued push for common-sense legislation to curb gun violence, and follows her previous remarks on the gun violence crisis earlier this month. As the top Democrat on the Senate health and education committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has repeatedly fought to invest federal resources in gun violence prevention research, and has been a strong supporter of common-sense gun safety reforms.  

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“As we grieve with the communities of El Paso, Dayton, and Midland, I can’t help but be reminded of the Seattle Jewish Federation, Marysville, Seattle Pacific University, Freeman High School, and so many other communities in my home state of Washington and nationwide that are suffering as a result of tragic—and tragically preventable—gun violence.”

“Every time we have seen this cycle, across all of the terrible shootings that have plagued our country in recent years, there are two common threads. The first is that in response to tragedy, communities have banded together to make their voices heard and press for change, and…[t]he second common thread is Senate Republicans. Every time we push for life-saving reforms it always ends at the same place, with the same thing standing in the way of change”

“Leader McConnell should break this cycle here and now by putting HR 8 up for a vote, which would implement universal background checks and close inexplicable gun show and internet loopholes. Considering more than eighty percent of Americans support universal background checks—this bill should be a no brainer…”

“I call on the Majority Leader to let us vote on HR 8. Let’s send it to the President’s desk. Let us do what the vast majority of Americans want us to do and take this first step to stop gun violence, so we can finally begin to put a stop to this terrible, deadly cycle.”

Watch Senator Murray’s speech HERE:

Read the full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Thank you. M. President.

“As we grieve with the communities of El Paso, Dayton, and Midland, I can’t help but be reminded of the Seattle Jewish Federation, Marysville, Seattle Pacific University, Freeman High School, and so many other communities in my home state of Washington and nationwide that are suffering as a result of tragic—and tragically preventable—gun violence.

“After each of these heartbreaking events, families in Washington State ask me, why does this keep happening, and why can we not stop it?

“And the answer every time is the same.

“We can’t stop it because Republicans, led by Leader McConnell, and now President Trump, won’t let us.

“Because of this inaction—we have entered a very destructive cycle.

“People going about their days, to school, a movie theater, place of worship—to places they should feel safe—lose their lives to gun violence.

“Communities and Democrats speak out and we call for common-sense reforms, such as universal background checks, which the vast majority of Americans support.

“Meanwhile, Republicans stand by and refuse to take any meaningful action to stop these violent, senseless, preventable deaths…

“So, nothing happens here in Congress.

“And then, months, weeks, days, or even hours later, the cycle starts all over again.

“Every time we have seen this cycle, across all of the terrible shootings that have plagued our country in recent years, there are two common threads.

“The first is that in response to tragedy, communities have banded together to make their voices heard and press for change, and I’ve been proud of advocates in Washington State like the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Moms Demand Action chapters in Spokane and across the state, who are leading the way and staying determined.

“The second common thread is Senate Republicans. 

“Every time we push for life-saving reforms it always ends at the same place, with the same thing standing in the way of change, and the most frustrating part of this is there are steps we could take right now—today—that will save lives.

“The House has passed universal background checks legislation, HR 8, with bipartisan support, but it’s now languishing in the Senate despite our calls for a vote, all because the Majority Leader will not bring it up.

“And President Trump, who is so willing to use his bully pulpit for far less worthy causes, hasn’t used it to take action in ways that could save lives right now.

“In other words, the President and Senate Republicans continue to make clear they are more interested in protecting the NRA than families in my home state and across the country.

“That is simply unacceptable, and Democrats are not going to stop calling for action.

“Leader McConnell should break this cycle here and now by putting HR 8 up for a vote, which would implement universal background checks and close inexplicable gun show and internet loopholes.

“Considering more than eighty percent of Americans support universal background checks—this bill should be a no brainer, and it is the first step we need to take to curb gun violence in our country, but it can’t be the only one.

“If we are serious about truly putting an end to this epidemic, we should look at legislation to expand access to Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which have by the way been implemented in my home state of Washington to get guns out of the hands of those who are in crisis. We should limit magazine sizes, we should revive the assault weapons ban, and invest in gun violence prevention research.

“These common-sense reforms can help us begin to break this cycle, but we’ve got to take action now to curb gun violence, and that means starting with universal background check legislation that is waiting right here on the Senate to take action.

“My Democratic colleagues here in the Senate and I have repeatedly called for a vote on HR 8 and we are going to keep putting pressure on Republicans in the Senate until we get one, but we can’t do it alone. 

“We need to keep lifting up our voices together to demand change, as we did after Sandy Hook, after Parkland, after Marysville, and now following the terror in Texas and in Ohio.

“It’s not easy, I’m not giving up, and I know that the millions of parents, grandparents, students, and so many across our nation are not going to give up either.

“Together, we can break this senseless cycle, and it starts with the Majority Leader.

“M. President, while we often disagree on the steps we believe need to be taken, I believe that all of us elected to the Senate would say that we came here to make a difference, and certainly to do whatever we could to ensure that the people we represent are safe.

“Right now, far too often, they are not. The Senate is not doing its job.

“So, M. President, I call on the Majority Leader to let us vote on HR 8. Let’s send it to the President’s desk.

“Let us do what the vast majority of Americans want us to do and take this first step to stop gun violence, so we can finally begin to put a stop to this terrible, deadly cycle.

“Thank you M. President, I yield the floor.”

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