Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has been a leading gun control advocate since being elected to Congress - where he first served the House district where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place


Democrat Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut suggested on Sunday that Congress should think about withholding federal funds from police departments that do not enforce gun control laws already in place.

It comes after 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club earlier this month, killing five people and injuring dozens of others in what prosecutors are looking at as a possible bias-motivated attack.

That mass shooting and another at a Virginia Walmart in the same week have spurred renewed calls for an assault weapons ban, going all the way up to President Joe Biden himself.

But the Senate likely won’t have the 60 votes needed to pass such legislation, Murphy conceded to CNN’s State Of The Union. But he remained hopeful that the next Congress could have enough support.

‘I’m glad that President Biden is going to be pushing us to take a vote on an assault weapons ban. The House has already passed it. It’s sitting in front of the Senate. Does it have 60 votes in the Senate right now? Probably not,’ Murphy said.

‘But let’s see if we can try to get that number as close to 60 as possible. If we don’t have the votes, then we will talk to Senator Schumer and maybe come back next year with maybe an additional senator and see if we can do better.’

But gun control advocates are questioning how many more lives will be taken before such a ban passes and urging lawmakers to find a more expedient solution.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has been a leading gun control advocate since being elected to Congress - where he first served the House district where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has been a leading gun control advocate since being elected to Congress – where he first served the House district where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place

Murphy, who served in the House representing the district where the Sandy Hook elementary shooting took place, was instrumental in a bipartisan gun control and school safety package passed after 19 elementary school students and two teachers were slaughtered in Uvalde, Texas this past May.

But activists have complained that existing red flag laws, put in place to prevent potentially dangerous people from acquiring firearms, in Virginia and Colorado failed to stop either recent slaying. 

Sheriffs in El Paso County, where the Colorado Springs shooting took place, had previously dubbed their jurisdiction a ‘Second Amendment Preservation County’ and refused to enforce the state’s red flag laws, according to AFP. 

Murphy suggested going a step further to crack down on police departments refusing to enforce the law on Sunday – by withholding their federal dollars.

‘The majority of counties in this country have declared that they are not going to enforce state and federal gun laws. They have decided that they are going to essentially refuse to implement laws that are on the books,’ the senator said.

‘Do we want to continue to supply funding to law enforcement in counties that refuse to implement state and federal gun laws?’ 

Flowers, candles, and mementos are left at a memorial after a mass shooting at LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. November 26, 2022. Activists have complained that Colorado's existing gun laws failed to stop the slaughter. Local sheriffs previously dubbed the county a Second Amendment haven

Flowers, candles, and mementos are left at a memorial after a mass shooting at LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. November 26, 2022. Activists have complained that Colorado’s existing gun laws failed to stop the slaughter. Local sheriffs previously dubbed the county a Second Amendment haven

He said that 60 percent of US counties are refusing to implement existing red flag measures.

‘I think we have to have a conversation about whether we can continue to fund law enforcement in states where they are refusing to implement these gun laws,’ Murphy said.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is accused of killing five people and wounding more than a dozen others after opening fire at Club Q on the night of November 19

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is accused of killing five people and wounding more than a dozen others after opening fire at Club Q on the night of November 19 

The moderate Democrat called red flag laws ‘wildly popular’ and pledged to take the defunding measure up back on Capitol Hill.

‘I will talk to my colleagues about what our approach should be this problem, but 60 percent of counties in this country are refusing to implement the nation’s gun laws,’ Murphy said. 

‘We have got to do something about that.’

Biden told reporters in Nantucket, where he spent Thanksgiving, that he would renew attempts to pass an assault weapons ban after the pair of mass shootings late this month.

‘The idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. Just sick,’ the president said during the holiday. 

He pledged: ‘I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons.’ 

Such a ban passed the Democrat-led House of Representatives in late July on a thin 217 to 213 margin.

It’s virtually unlikely to pass the evenly-divided Senate – and it’s not clear how much  Democrats wining one more seat in the December 6 Georgia runoff election would help tip the scales in next year’s Congress.

Aldrich, the Colorado Springs shooter, is currently being held on murder and bias-motivated crime charges.

The suspect’s lawyers have said Aldrich uses they/them pronouns – but that hasn’t stopped people from calling the slaughter a hate crime.  

Previously known as Nicholas Brink, Aldrich is the grandchild of a Republican California Assemblyman named Rep. Randy Voepel – who has espoused fringe-right beliefs like support for the January 6 Capitol riot.

The shooter’s birth father was recorded by CBS 8 San Diego reacting to the news of the mass killing, appearing to be more concerned that his child was potentially LGBTQ than being accused of murder.

‘I go on to find out it’s a gay bar. I got scared, “Shit, is he gay?” And he’s not gay, so I said, phew,’ Aaron Brink told the local station. ‘I am a conservative Republican.’



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