School Climate & Safety

Senator Ends 15-Hour Push for Tighter Gun Laws With Story of Newtown Teacher

By Evie Blad — June 16, 2016 | Updated: June 30, 2023 1 min read
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Updated: A previous version of this page included a video, which has since been removed.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy’s lengthy floor speech pushing for tighter restrictions on gun sales Wednesday was heavily colored by his experiences representing families who lost loved ones in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in December 2012.

Murphy, a Democrat, yielded the floor around 2 a.m. Thursday after 15 hours of speaking and taking questions from fellow senators, saying he’d received assurances that the Senate would soon vote on two gun-law measures.

“One is an amendment that would bar people who are on terrorist watchlists from buying guns,” the Huffington Post reports. “Another would crack down on online and private gun sales that evade background checks.”

While the decision to press for changes in gun laws was sparked by the recent shootings at a gay night club in Orlando that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, the killings of 26 people, including 20 children, at the Connecticut elementary school were frequently raised in the Senate discussion. Murphy ended his speech—labeled a filibuster by those following online though it didn’t meet all of the technical requirements—by recalling the heroic final moments of a teacher in the building that day.

Police found the body of teacher Anne Marie Murphy wrapped around Dylan Hockley, a 6-year-old with autism, in an apparent embrace, he said.

“If Anne Marie Murphy could do that, then ask yourself what can you do to make sure that Orlando or Sandy Hook never, ever happens again?” Murphy said.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.