Even as a school shooting was unfolding Wednesday in Broward County, Florida, one senator went to the U.S. Senate floor to blame Congress for it.
“This happens nowhere else, other than the United States of America,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a Wednesday afternoon speech. “It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”
A gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., opened fire before 3 p.m. local time, police said, killing “many” and injuring at least 20 at the school. Officers cleared students from the school room by room.
“As a parent, it scares me to death that this body doesn’t take seriously the safety of my children, and it seems like a lot of parents in South Florida are going to be asking that same question later today,” Murphy said.
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Murphy had gone to the floor intending to give a speech about immigration as the Senate considers legislation on the issue this week, the Hartford Courant reports. But before he launched into that issue, the senator — a vocal critic of current U.S. gun laws — took a moment to comment on the ongoing incident in Broward County.
“Turn on your television right now, you’re going to see scenes of children running for their lives,” Murphy said in the speech.
Murphy became a leading voice in Congress calling for tougher background checks and other gun control measures after a 2012 school shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School — in his home state of Connecticut — left 26 people dead, including 20 small children, as McClatchy reported at the time.
Since then, little has been done on the federal level to tighten gun laws.
There have been 18 school shootings to date this year in the U.S., according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that supports tighter gun control measures. And since 2013, the country has seen about 300 shootings at schools, which amounts to roughly one per week.