UPDATE: Senate Democrats ended a nearly 15-hour long filibuster on gun laws after Republican Party leaders reportedly agreed to allow votes on two proposed measures that included expanding background checks to gun shows and internet sales and banning gun sales to suspected terrorists.
I am proud to announce that after 14+ hours on the floor, we will have a vote on closing the terror gap & universal background checks— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 16, 2016
This is one step. The fight is far from over. But there are millions of voices calling for change. And we cannot stop pushing #Enough— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 16, 2016
Vowing to stay on the floor “for as long as he can,” Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy (D) launched a surprise filibuster to call for gun control legislation.
I'm speaking on the Senate floor to honor the victims of the Orlando attack & demand the Senate address gun violence. #Enough— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 15, 2016
I am prepared to stand on the Senate floor and talk about the need to prevent gun violence for as long as I can. I've had #Enough— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 15, 2016
Murphy was elected just a month before 20-year-old Adam Lanza burst into Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown and carried out one of the most horrific mass shootings, using a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to kill 20 children and six school staffers, along with his mother.
The Connecticut senator has since been one of the most vocal gun control advocates in the Senate.
His filibuster comes nearly four days after the worst mass shooting in the history of the U.S. when gunman Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and injured 53 others.
Although the massacre of innocent children in Sandy Hook should have prompted immediate strengthening of gun control measures, Congress failed to enact appropriate legislation due to staunch opposition from the Republican Party.
Expressing his frustration with congressional inaction over the issue, Murphy said had had “enough” and began speaking at 11:21 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday.
He is filibustering a spending bill to expand background checks and bar people on the FBI's terror watch lists and no-fly lists to buy guns. The Orlando shooter was able to legally purchase weapons he used in the rampage despite having previously been on an FBI terror watch list.
Around 40 senators backed Murphy including Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), among several others. Two GOP senators, Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Donnelly (R-IN), also joined the filibuster.
Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for Murphy:
Obviously, the filibuster may not be able to prompt swift action to end gun violence right away. However, at a time when the country is reeling from the loss of so many lives in Orlando — and anyone can still legally buy assault rifle in less than 10 minutes — it is certainly a much-needed step in the right direction.