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Murphy says "there are not the votes" to pass an assault weapons ban in Congress

Murphy on assault weapons ban
Murphy says "there are not the votes" for an assault weapons ban 07:32

In the wake of another deadly school shooting, Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut who is at the forefront of gun control legislation in Congress, has again called for action from federal lawmakers that could help reduce the risks of future tragedies involving assault weapons.

While Murphy acknowledged during an appearance on "Face the Nation" Sunday morning that "there are not the votes" in the U.S. Senate as it stands to pass an assault weapons ban, which President Joe Biden has been pushing for since last year, the congressman discussed possible steps forward to increase gun control.

"After Uvalde, I want to ban assault weapons. I think it's just absolutely unconscionable that we allow these weapons of war to be in commercial circulation," Murphy said. 

"But there's not the votes to do that. So, what are there the votes to do? Let's explore the potential of what's possible," the senator continued. "And so what if we said before you get an AR-15, you have to show that you are responsible, that you know how to operate it, what if we applied background checks universally, simply to the purchase of those weapons?"

Murphy said that while he ultimately wants assault-style weapons "off the street," he also believes that "we'd be a safer nation if we required just a little bit of training before you bought the most dangerous weapons commercially available."

Sen. Chris Murphy on "Face the Nation" on April 2, 2023.  CBS News

Six people were shot and killed last week in the shooting at The Covenant School, a private Christian school attached to a church in Nashville, Tennessee, that teaches students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. Three of the six victims were 9-year-old students at the school, while the other three were adult staff members. The shooter, a 28-year-old local resident who was armed with two assault weapons and a handgun, was also fatally shot by responding police officers. 

Authorities said later that their preliminary investigation showed the shooter had previously purchased seven different weapons from five gun stores in the area, something that, Murphy pointed out, might have raised concerns ahead of time if there were trigger laws in place in Tennessee, which "could have made a difference."

"If parents know that they have the opportunity to take firearms away from an individual in their family that they know is in crisis, then they are frankly going to be more vigilant about searching for that potential connection to a weapon. In Tennessee, they couldn't do anything about it even if they knew about the weapons," Murphy said. 

"And so what we know is that in states that have red flag laws, they are used responsibly and frequently to take guns away from people in crisis," he continued. "Florida, a red state, has a red flag law that's been used 8,000 times to take weapons away from people who are contemplating violence against others, or contemplating violence against themselves. They work and if Tennessee had a red flag law, and the parents knew about it maybe this situation wouldn't have happened."

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