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Senator to Colleagues: Is Political Backing from Gun Industry 'Worth the Blood'?

chris murphy speaks at the capitol

WASHINGTON -- One of the biggest gun-control advocates in Congress ripped colleagues after the Sutherland Springs, Texas, mass shooting, telling fellow lawmakers to "shed" their "cowardly cover and do something."

Twenty-six people, including the pastor's 14-year-old daughter, were killed Sunday morning after Devin Kelley, 26, opened fire on a Baptist congregation. Kelley, who had a history of domestic violence, had multiple weapons and was stopped by an armed neighbor.

"The paralysis you feel right now – the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen – isn’t real. It's a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement, adding that "no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America."

"As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate," he added.

“As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets. Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents."

Murphy said that "the terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic -- the time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."

His colleague Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told MSNBC this morning that "common sense measures" like "a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines" are "all consistent with the Second Amendment under the Heller decision."

"It's cultural but it's also a matter of communication and education, because if you tell the most avid gun owner what background checks do, keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people and terrorists -- no fly, no buy -- there is unanimity in favor -- in fact, the majority of American people, 95 percent, favor background checks, including a majority of gun owners," Blumenthal said.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) declared in a statement Sunday night that "offering our thoughts and prayers is not enough -- Congress must act."

“As we add Sutherland Springs to an ever-growing list of mass shootings, it is inexcusable for us to offer our sympathy but not take any action to prevent the next tragedy. We owe it to our communities to do everything we can to ensure their safety," Hoyer said. "No one should have to fear for their life at a church service – or at school, or a movie theater, or a dance club, or a concert."