Transcript: Sen. Chris Murphy says “more kids would be alive today” had assault weapons ban been in place prior to Sandy Hook shooting

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) supporting the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 at a press conference on Jan. 24, 2013: 

…As the father of a 4-year-old and 1-year-old, there are a lot of moments when I wish I could take back what I saw – that just heaving, incomprehensible grief that comes especially in those first moments of trying to understand what just happened.

But make no mistake, the grief and the trauma in Newtown isn’t abating; it’s multiplying. Because in a tiny town like that when you take away the lives of 20 kids and 6 adults – many of which lived in tiny little neighborhoods; 4 or 5 children came from one street in that town – the grief just continues.

Let me tell you what’s happening today in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sandy Hook Elementary School has moved. A lot of teachers haven’t come back. A lot of the students haven’t returned.

But in each one of those classrooms there is a safe word. In one third-grade classroom, it’s monkey. And a couple of times every day a kid yells out that safe word when he gets into a conversation with a fellow student that he doesn’t want to be a part of. Third grader talking about what he saw that day, the bodies he stepped over, the look that he caught in the shooter’s eyes.

That’s what’s happening today in Newtown. That’s what happens in communities that deal with one of these mass atrocities. It’s not just the families who grieve. It’s the trauma that just washes over these communities like waves in the weeks and months afterwards.

Kids would be alive today in Newtown, Connecticut if the laws that we’re proposing today were in place on Dec. 14 of last year. It’s as simple as that.

Why do we know that? We know that because the data tells us, despite what the gun lobbies will say, that the first assault weapons ban even with its warts worked.

Within 9 years, there was a two-thirds drop in crimes committed with assault weapons. There was an overall drop in gun violence across the country by 7%. Forty percent of the mass shootings in this country – 40% in the history of this country – has happened since that assault weapons [ban] expired [in 2004].

More kids would be alive today in Newtown today if this law was on the books because we know what the numbers tell us, but we also know what happened that day. We know that most of these incidents ends when the shooter has to reload, either the gun jams or people are allowed to intervene.

You know what? To get off 100 rounds that day in about a 10-minute period of time, Adam Lanza had to reload twice. Two times he had to reload. Things would have been different if that was 9 or 10 or 11.

And second, either there was a question as to whether he would even have driven in his mother’s car in the first place if he didn’t have access to a weapon he saw in video games that gave him the false sense of courage about what he could do that day.

We know that if this law was in place on Dec. 14 there would be little girls and boys alive today.

The gun lobby has said over and over again the last several weeks that this is just a “feel-good” piece of legislation. But you know what? They’re right about that. It would feel really good if Allison and Charlotte and Daniel and Olivia and Josephine and Ana had to got enjoy Christmas with their parents. It would feel really good if Dylan and Madeleine and Catherine and Chase, Jesse and James took the bus to school this morning. It would feel really good if Grace and Emilie and Jack and Noah and Caroline and Jessica and Avielle and Ben were alive today. It would feel really good if parents all across this country didn’t have to wake up every morning worrying that without action that their kids were at risk just like those kids in Newtown.

This is going to be hard. This is going to be difficult. But to honor those 20 lives and 6 more in Newtown, we’re going to get it done.


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4 Comments on “Transcript: Sen. Chris Murphy says “more kids would be alive today” had assault weapons ban been in place prior to Sandy Hook shooting

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