Sen. Chris Murphy on Sunday suggested withholding federal funds from law enforcement agencies that refuse to enforce state and national gun laws in the wake of mass shootings in Colorado and Virginia.
Murphy (D-Conn.), an outspoken advocate for gun control laws and an assault weapons ban, said the Senate needs to have a conversation about funding law enforcement outfits that balk at implementing gun laws in “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”
“They have decided that they are going to essentially refuse to implement laws that are on the books. That is a growing problem in this country,” Murphy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“And I think we’re going to have to have a conversation about that in the United States Senate. Do we want to continue to supply funding to law enforcement in counties that refuse to implement state and federal gun laws?” he said.
El Paso County, Co., where a man armed with an assault-style weapon killed five people at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub on Nov. 19, is a so-called Second Amendment sanctuary, and authorities declined to pursue a “red flag” order against the accused shooter following an earlier incident involving his mother.
Chesapeake, Va., the scene of the Nov. 22 mass shooting at a Walmart in which six employees were gunned down by a manager of the big box store, is also a Second Amendment sanctuary.
President Biden last week told reporters that he would seek a ban on assault weapons before the new Congress convenes after the first of the year, saying he was “sick and tired of these shootings.”
“The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers,” Biden said as he visited first-responders at the Nantucket Fire Department on Thanksgiving Day in Massachusetts.
But Murphy said he doesn’t think there are 60 votes in the Senate to pass a ban on assault weapons.
“I’m glad that President Biden is gonna be pushing us to take a vote on an assault weapons ban,” he said on CNN.
“The House has already passed it. It’s sitting in front of the Senate. Does it have 60 votes in the Senate right now? Probably not. But let’s see if we can try to get that number as close to 60 as possible. If we don’t have the votes, then we’ll talk to [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer and maybe come back next year, with maybe an additional senator, and see if we can do better,” he said.