Three days after the largest mass shooting in American history took place at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Senate Democrats are making a stand to force Congress to take action on gun control.
Earlier today Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, launched a filibuster on the Senate floor and said he wouldn’t stop until Congress passes legislation on gun control. Fellow Democrats have joined the filibuster as well, including fellow Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal as well as Chuck Schumer from New York and Joe Manchin form West Virginia. When he was in the House of Representatives, Murphy represented the Congressional district that includes Newtown, Conn., the site of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting.
I am prepared to stand on the Senate floor and talk about the need to prevent gun violence for as long as I can. I’ve had #Enough— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 15, 2016
Before Murphy’s filibuster, the Senate was set to vote on a spending bill, but Democrats are holding up that vote unless an amendment is added that would prevent terror suspects from obtaining guns. Omar Mateen, the gunman responsible for the shooting on Sunday, was investigated twice by the FBI and placed on a terrorism watchlist but was still able to purchase firearms. Democrats introduced a bill last year that would have banned individuals on the terror watchlist from buying guns, but every Senate Republican except for one voted against it.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted out her support for Sen. Murphy and the others performing the filibuster.
However, some Republicans have responded to Sunday’s tragedy with atypical support for gun control. Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, asked Murphy to speak on the issue earlier today and is working with Everytown for Gun Safety to come up with a measure to keep terrorists from acquiring guns.
And even Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, tweeted earlier that he’s going to push the National Rifle Association (NRA), an organization that has opposed meaningful gun control regulations for years, to support closing the terrorist loophole as well:
I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
So while the chances that a bill preventing terror watchlist suspects from buying guns could gain traction, it remains to be seen if this or any wider-reaching legislation will pass.
You can watch Sen. Murphy and the others filibustering in the Senate live on YouTube.
Joseph Misulonas is an assistant editor for Playboy.com. He can be found on Twitter at @jmisulonas.