Senator Chris Murphy and other Democrats gave up the Senate floor early Thursday morning after speaking for nearly 15 straight hours about gun control. The filibuster, which is the eighth-longest filibuster in the U.S. Senate since 1900, came just days after a mass shooting at a popular Orlando gay club that left 49 dead and many more injured.
Here are 3 things you should know about the filibuster:
1. It looks like there will be a vote on gun control legislation.
Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, took the Senate floor at 11:21 a.m. Wednesday with the goal of demanding that Republicans allow a vote, specifically on two Democrat-backed gun measures: one that would bar those on federal terror watch lists from purchasing firearms, and another that would mandate universal background checks for gun sales. Murphy formally yielded the floor at about 2 a.m. Thursday after Senate Republicans agreed to allow votes on the two measures.
2. It makes sense that Murphy led this filibuster.
Murphy has been a key gun control advocate since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut more than three years ago, just one month after entering his first term. Connecticut has the nation’s second-strictest gun laws (just behind California), and since Sandy Hook, Murphy has made gun control his top priority.
3. Democrats focused on the emotional pain of gun violence.
Since joining the Senate in 2012, Murphy has spoken 45 times on the floor sharing stories of victims of gun violence. Democrats used the same method during the filibuster. As 2 a.m. drew near, Murphy shared the heartbreaking story of 6-year-old Dylan Hockley and a teacher’s aide, Anne Marie Murphy, who were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.
“It doesn’t take courage to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate for two hours or six hours or 14 hours,” Murphy said. “It takes courage to look into the eye of a shooter and instead of running, wrapping your arms around a 6-year-old boy and accepting death. … If Anne Marie Murphy could do that, then ask yourself: What can you do to make sure that Orlando or Sandy Hook never, ever happens again?”
Screenshot from C-SPAN
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