WASHINGTON – Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Congress is “complicit” in the deaths of Americans due to gun violence and he encouraged President-elect Trump to do the “unpredictable” with gun control measures.
“Shortly, we’ll have a new president unlike President Obama – hardly committed to the cause of ending gun violence, but there is a moment of opportunity here. And my hope is that newly elected President Trump will use this opportunity much as President Nixon did in going to China,” Blumenthal said during a press conference on Capitol Hill with family members of gun violence victims and survivors. “It’s a Nixon to China moment for Donald Trump when he can defy the expectation, do the unpredictable – he likes doing the unpredictable – respond to a rally, which he also likes to do, and the rally is the America people who are clamoring and demanding action.”
“Donald Trump has a legacy moment,” the senator added. “When he can seize this opportunity, a historic opportunity, do the right thing and adopt these common-sense measures: background checks for every gun purchase, a ban on terrorists buying guns and ending the immunity, the legal immunity, unprecedented, unknown to any other industry for gun manufacturers. These are your ideas, Donald. We’ll give you credit for them.”
Blumenthal said gun-control advocates should not respond with anger to the inaction of Congress even though it “would be well-justified because Congress has been complicit in the inaction and in the deaths and injuries that have occurred – 400,000 every year from all over the country – and Congress’ complicity must end.”
During the presidential campaign, Trump, who was endorsed by the NRA, showed support for preventing individuals on the no-fly and terrorist watch lists from obtaining firearms.
Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) also had a message for the incoming president: that gun-control advocates would keep pushing “as long as it takes because we are in for the fight of our lives.”
“We are talking about life here, so that’s my challenge to the president-elect – we want a safer America. Stand with us,” she said. “Stand with us and do the right thing. Stand up to the traditional political forces that have gridlocked this institution. Stand with the American people.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said gun-control advocates should not be discouraged because “the gun lobby is in retreat.”
“We are starting to change the political dynamics in races all across this country and this is the moment, as we honor four years since Sandy Hook, to put our foot on the accelerator, right? And to deliver the change we know the American people want. You should be proud of the movement you have helped to build,” he said.
Rev. Rebecca Justice Schunior from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington joined the lawmakers at the press conference to lead a prayer.
“God cares deeply for human flesh or human lives, not how human lives are lived in some kind of afterlife, some sort of hereafter that we will get to at some point, but how human lives are lived out here on earth today and how they are lived out everywhere,” she said.
“Use these minds, these hearts, these hands, to make your world a world that you envisioned for us, give us strength and will to be a people who cannot sit silently, do not accept and see as impossible to accept 90 lives lost each day because of our obsession with guns. We know that such a life is possible so come, oh come, Emmanuel, be born in us again this day. Amen,” she prayed.