Rep. Murphy: 'Thoughts and Prayers and Sympathies...Are Wholly Insufficient'

By Susan Jones | December 4, 2015 | 9:12am EST
Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) (AP File Photo)

( - "I know that prayers and thoughts...are important, and I know they're important to San Bernardino," Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on Friday. "But right now, these thoughts and prayers and sympathies have become a mask for inaction, and they are wholly insufficient."

Murphy offended some Americans after the attack in San Bernardino on Wednesday, when he tweeted, "Your 'thoughts' should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your 'prayers' should be for forgiveness if you do nothing -- again."

Murphy's message apparently was aimed at Republican presidential hopefuls who offered "thoughts and prayers" for the terrorist couple's victims. (For the record, President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch also offered "thoughts and prayers.")

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday, Murphy said his point is "that thoughts and prayers are great, but they've got to be followed up with action. And what is so offensive is that in the wake of another mass shooting, we have a gigantic menu of policy options at our disposal to try to cut down on this carnage, and we are not pursing any of them. We are absolutly frozen.

"Listen, maybe I shouldn't tweet in anger, but I'm angry that we're not doing anything to stop this," he added.

Host Joe Scarborough asked Murphy what kind of gun control legislation would do the most good and get the most support in Congress.

"Next year, we can take up the issue of mental health reform," Murphy said. "You can get Republicans and Democrats to come together on that, (and) live to fight another day on these gun laws -- bring that question to the electorate next fall.

"But there are absolutely things that we can do to try to cut down on this carnage, and you know, hopefully, the American public will demand that we do this, and pass along consequences to the Republicans if they just continue their utter silence going into next year."

Murphy conceded that no law will stop every single mass shooting. "And so I think we should be a little wary of reacting to every single shooting with a different policy prescription."

But, he noted, the San Bernardino suspects were carrying "military assault-style weapons" with high capacity magazines. Murphy said he thinks "the carnage in these mass shootings would be less if they're walking into these schools or workplaces with less sophisticated and less deadly weapons.  That's certainly a relevant conversation here."

Murphy also alluded to terrorism:

"To the extent that this guy was talking, perhaps, to those who were radicalized, it speaks to the fact that anyone on the terror watchlist shouldn't ever be allowed to buy a gun. And so there's a number of policies that you could pursue from this shooting." (The suspects reportedly were not on any terrorist watchlist.)

Murphy expressed surprise that only one Republican (Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois) voted on Thursday for an amendment banning gun sales to people on the government's terrorist watchlist.

"The response on the floor yesterday was that well, Ted Kennedy was once on the No Fly list, and so there are mistakes on the No Fly list from the terror watchlist, thus it is irrelevant." Murphy called it a "totally ridiculous argument."

"And the fact is that, regardless of whether Ted Kennedy showed up on it, 99 percent on the people on the terror watch list, on the No Fly, list shouldn't fly on planes, shouldn't own guns."

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