Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, suggested on Sunday that Congress should consider withdrawing federal funding from police departments that do not enforce pre-existing gun control laws.
It comes after 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club earlier this month, killing five people and injuring dozens of others, in what prosecutors are treating as a possible bias-motivated attack. are looking.
The mass shooting and another at a Virginia Walmart in the same week have renewed calls to ban assault weapons, going as far as President Joe Biden himself.
But the Senate would not have the 60 votes needed to pass such legislation, Murphy acknowledged on CNN’s State of the Union. But he was hopeful that the next Congress could muster enough support.
‘I’m glad President Biden is leading us to get on the vote to ban assault weapons. The House has already passed it. It is seated 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, we’ll talk to Senator Schumer and maybe come back next year with an additional senator and see if we can do better.’
But gun control advocates are questioning how many more lives will be lost before such a ban is passed and are urging lawmakers to find more expedient solutions.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has been a prominent gun control advocate since being elected to Congress – where he first served in the House district where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened
Murphy, who served in the House representing the district where the initial Sandy Hook shooting occurred, was instrumental in a bipartisan gun control and school safety package that killed 19 elementary school students in Uvalde, Texas, last May. and was passed after the murder of two teachers.
But activists have complained that existing red flag laws put in place in Virginia and Colorado to prevent potentially dangerous people from obtaining firearms failed to stop the recent killings.
According to AFP, the sheriff in El Paso County, where the Colorado Springs shooting took place, previously dubbed his jurisdiction a ‘Second Amendment protection county’ and refused to enforce the state’s red flag laws.
Murphy on Sunday suggested going a step further in cracking down on police departments that refuse to enforce the law — by withholding their federal dollars.
‘Most counties in this country have announced that they are not going to enforce state and federal gun laws. They have decided that they are essentially going to refuse to enforce the laws that are on the books,” the senator said.
‘Do we want to continue supplying money to law enforcement in counties that refuse to enforce state and federal gun laws?’
Flowers, candles and mementos are left at a memorial following the mass shooting at LGBTQ nightclub Club Q on November 26, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Activists have complained that Colorado’s existing gun laws fail to prevent the slaughter. The local sheriff previously declared the county a Second Amendment haven.
He noted that 60 percent of US states are refusing to implement existing red flag measures.
“I think we’re going to have to have a conversation about whether we can continue to fund law enforcement in states where they’re refusing to enforce these gun laws,” Murphy said.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is accused of opening fire at Club Q on the night of November 19, killing five people and wounding more than a dozen.
Moderate Democrats called the red flag laws ‘wildly popular’ and vowed to take the rescue measure back on Capitol Hill.
“I will talk to my colleagues about what our approach should be to this problem, but 60 percent of the counties in this country are refusing to enforce the country’s gun laws,” Murphy said.
‘We have to do something about it.’
Biden told reporters in Nantucket, where he spent Thanksgiving, that he would renew efforts to ban assault weapons after a pair of mass shootings later this month.
‘The idea of us still being allowed to buy semi-automatic weapons is sickening. I’m just sick,’ the president said during the holiday.
He vowed: ‘I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons.’
Such a ban passed the Democrat-led House of Representatives in late July by a narrow margin of 217 to 213.
It’s unlikely to pass an evenly divided Senate — and it’s unclear whether Democrats winning another seat in the Dec. 6 Georgia runoff election will help tip the scales in next year’s Congress.
Aldrich, the Colorado Springs shooter, is currently being held on charges of murder and a crime motivated by bias.
Lawyers for the suspect have said that 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 grandson of Republican California Assemblyman Rep. Randy Voepel — who has held fringe-right beliefs such as 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 murder, seemingly more concerned that his child was potentially LGBTQ than he was charged with murder.
‘I found out it’s a gay bar. I was horrified, “Shit, is he gay?” And he’s not gay, so I said, ‘Oh,'” Aaron Brink told the local station. ‘I’m a conservative Republican.’