Nearly four years ago, the junior US senator from Connecticut was thrust into a national tragedy when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Since that day, Sen. Chris Murphy has been among the leading voices in the Democratic Party for gun control. In June, he conducted a 15-hour filibuster that helped gather nearly every Senate Democrat for a sit-in and drew widespread media coverage. Mother Jones spoke recently with Sen. Murphy about his efforts on gun violence, the fraught presidential election, and his plans to keep taking on the gun lobby.
Mother Jones: The Sandy Hook massacre was a major turning point for you. How do you think things have changed in the anti-gun-violence movement since?
Chris Murphy: My career in Congress is a story of before Sandy Hook and after Sandy Hook. I have a connection to this issue because of my experience that day and my friendship with many of the families that has tragically developed. I will consider my time in the Senate a failure if we don’t pass some meaningful legislation to reduce the likelihood that Sandy Hook ever happens again. I think we have made remarkable progress, but you have to put that progress in context. The anti-gun-violence movement was essentially asleep from 1994 to 2012, and during that time, the gun lobby built up enormous political power. We’ve been organizing during the modern era of the anti-gun-violence movement for three and a half years. During that time, we’ve had some successes in states like Connecticut and Washington. We have moved the needle in Congress—anti-gun-violence measures get more votes, and more Republican votes than they did a few years ago. And we’ve built an activist base that is growing daily, that is hopefully going to have some impact in the fall elections.
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