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Murphy's Tweet On 'Thoughts And Prayers' Opens Political Debate On Guns

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy's Tweet from 5:12 p.m. Wednesday in response to politicians offering thoughts and prayers in wake of deadly California shooting.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy's Tweet from 5:12 p.m. Wednesday in response to politicians offering thoughts and prayers in wake of deadly California shooting. Photo Credit: Chris Murphy via Twitter @ChrisMurphyCT

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Chris Murphy, who was elected to the U.S. Senate by Connecticut voters just weeks before the Sandy Hook massacre, redefined the debate about gun violence in one Tweet.

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Do you agree with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut on the need for stricter gun laws?
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Do you agree with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut on the need for stricter gun laws?

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    74%
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    24%
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Hours after 14 people were killed in a shooting spree in San Bernardino, Calif., Murphy (D-Conn.) scolded his colleagues who offered "thoughts and prayers" but failed to take steps for gun control.

“Your 'thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your 'prayers' should be for forgiveness if you do nothing — again,” Murphy said via Twitter @ChrisMurphyCT.

His message was retweeted 21,000 times and liked by 19,000 users. It appeared to inspire the front page of the New York Daily News, which was emblazoned with a headline saying, "God Isn't Fixing This."

Murphy expressed his feelings in a more traditional statement as well:

“My heart aches for the people of San Bernardino. I cannot express the profound sadness I feel each time a new community grieves and endures the same pain that brought Newtown to its knees three years ago this month,” said Murphy. “... I can only pray that America’s leaders will do something – anything – that prevents more communities from knowing this sorrow. Congress’ No. 1 responsibility is to keep our constituents safe, and not a single senator or member of Congress can go back to their state this weekend and claim that they are doing their job.”

By Thursday evening, Murphy was blasting his Republican colleagues after the Senate voted down measures to strengthen background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns or explosives.

“If the federal government believes someone is a terrorist and is too dangerous to be allowed on an airplane, why on earth do we let them buy deadly weapons? It makes no sense,” said Murphy. “We tried to put a stop to that today, but Republicans in Congress wouldn’t let us. Instead of working in a bipartisan way to keep Americans safe, they wasted hours on doomed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood."

This wasn't Murphy's first foray into the gun control debate. He repeatedly takes the Senate floor to list the names of people who have been killed by guns -- even as Congress repeatedly votes down stronger gun laws.

Murphy also went a step further on Thursday. In an interview with Vox.com. When asked by Vox, which bills itself as an online general interest news site, what he would say to Congressional colleagues offering their thoughts and prayers while opposing new gun laws, Murphy said, "Get off their ass."

Read the full interview with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy here at the Vox.com .

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