The PJ Tatler

Sen. Murphy: Confederate Flag Controversies 'a Cover for Doing Absolutely Nothing' About Guns

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) says he’s glad people are up in arms about displays of the Confederate flag after last week’s church massacre in Charleston — but he’s upset that it’s distracting from gun control.

“Good for @Walmart for saying they won’t sell confederate flags. Now how about all those assault weapons…” Murphy tweeted yesterday.

He later told MSNBC that he’s “proud of South Carolina and all of these companies for recognizing what they should have recognized decades ago, that the flag is a symbol of racism and not so quietly endorses those people who would either harbor racist thoughts or carry actions with racist intent.”

But the senator called it “a cover for doing absolutely nothing continually about the onslaught of gun violence in this country.”

“The fact is that every day 80 people are dying from guns. And, yes, it may be that the flying of the Confederate flag had a small part in the racist thoughts that led this young man to do such damage in Charleston. But if we’re not going to have a conversation about fixing our mental health system or passing expanded background checks or quite frankly getting this military style assault weapons that Walmart still sells at their stores with totally unqualified clerks to send them out to consumers, then we just haven’t done our duty,” Murphy said.

Shooter Dylann Roof used a .45-caliber Glock handgun, purchased legally at a gun store, in the attack.

“And here is my real point here. If we do nothing, if we are totally silent, then that essentially makes us complicit in these murders. Maybe a background check wouldn’t have stopped this guy from killing nine people in Charleston,” Murphy continued. “But when we just remain totally silent in Washington, we send a message of silent endorsement to the carnage across this country and that’s got to stop.”

The senator said he “would rather that a place like Walmart not sell guns” because the retail giant “really has no trained specialists in selling guns, in training people in how to use guns, in looking for the kind of people who when they walk into the store are exhibiting signs such that you shouldn’t sell them a gun,” thus “shouldn’t be in that business.”

“I have no problem with licensed independent gun dealers selling weapons. I just don’t think Walmart should be in that business. But at the least shouldn’t be in the business selling assault weapons.”

Murphy tweeted a photo of a Sig Sauer advertised on Walmart’s website: an M400 rifle, 5.56 NATO, enhanced, 10-round magazine. The website marks the gun as only sold in stores.

“They advertise it as a military style assault weapon used by law enforcement and the military. Right, designed for that usage,” Murphy said. “So, you know, they’re marketing in weapons that are designed for the military and law enforcement and not for personal use. So I’d rather them just get out of the business entirely.”

“…It’s not enough just to stop selling the Confederate flag. You have got to be part of this discussion about how we can continue to allow almost 100 people every day to die from guns. That is part of your corporate social responsibility. And I hope that more companies will step up to the plate.”