A little before 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut yielded the floor of the United States Senate after a nearly 15-hour filibuster against gun violence. It was the ninth longest Senate filibuster in U.S. history.
Murphy, along with some of his Democratic colleagues, used the time to argue for stricter gun control — specifically, to expand universal background checks to cover gun show and Internet sales, and to prevent people on terrorist watch lists from buying firearms.
Several senators made speeches during the marathon filibuster, for which Murphy was required to stand the entire time. Some told stories of mass shootings in their states — Virginia’s Tim Kaine spoke of the Virginia Tech shooting, Murphy recounted the tragic Sandy Hook massacre — while others listed statistics or spoke out for LGBT rights. All spoke of the tragedy in Orlando on June 12, when 49 people were killed and dozens of others injured in a mass shooting at LGBT nightclub Pulse.
Murphy’s response to the rampage was historic. He ended the filibuster after 15 hours because Republicans agreed to vote on the proposed measures.
Below, Us Weekly has rounded up some of the most powerful quotes from the discussion.
“Our heart breaks for the people of Orlando because we know in a very real way the pain that exists there today, but we also know how that pain is really never-ending. How the ripples of that pain are unceasing and unrelenting, and they span generations, they span neighborhoods, and they span years.” —Senator Chris Murphy (D., Connecticut)
“I can’t tell you how hard it is to look into the eyes of the families of those little boys and girls who were killed in Sandy Hook and tell them that almost four years later, we have done nothing — nothing at all — to reduce the likelihood that that will happen again to another family … This isn’t new to me, but I am at my wit’s end. I have had enough. I have had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I have had enough of inaction in this body.” —Senator Chris Murphy (D., Connecticut)
“A disturbed individual charged into a classroom at Umpqua Community College with six guns, and within the space of just a couple of minutes, he took nine lives, including his own. One of the lives he took was a cousin of mine, Rebecka Ann Carnes. Eighteen years old, she had just graduated from South Umpqua High School the previous June … She was ready for the adventure of adulthood. She was ready for the adventure of going off to college. She was ready to explore the world. She was excited. She was a beautiful spirit. But her adventure ended so shortly after graduating from high school, before she could really get started on the journey of the balance of life.” —Senator Jeff Merkley (D., Oregon)
“One side shouts: It was a gun that killed all those people. The other side shouts: It wasn’t a gun; it was a terrorist that killed all those people. Through all of the shouting, we miss what should be obvious: It was a terrorist with a gun that killed all those people — a terrorist with hate in his heart and a gun in his hand that killed all those people.” —Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Massachusetts)
“I can’t say I’d be a hero. But in this body, we don’t have to be heroes! We just have to not be bystanders. We’ve been bystanders in this body, we’ve been bystanders in this nation, as this carnage of gun violence has gone from one tragedy to the next. To cast a vote, that’s not heroic. To stand up and say we can be safer tomorrow, we can protect people’s lives, that’s not heroic. That’s just saying, ‘I will not be a bystander.’ And that’s all we have to do.” —Senator Tim Kaine (D., Virginia)
“We cannot let the dream of our country die and be dashed and killed. We can do something about it, and it is unacceptable, when you have the power, to do nothing … We allow our inability to do everything to undermine our determination to do something.” —Senator Cory Booker (D., New Jersey)
“It doesn’t take courage to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate for two hours or six hours or 14 hours … It takes courage to look into the eye of a shooter and, instead of running, wrapping your arms around a 6-year-old boy and accepting death.” —Senator Chris Murphy (D., Connecticut)
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!