Chris Murphy Explains Why the US Needs Tougher Gun Laws

As presidential hopefuls take the stage in the next round of debates, one key 2020 issue tragically made headlines again: gun violence. Sen Chris Muphy, who has become a leading voice in Congress on the matter since the Sandy Hook massacre in his home state, joins the program to discuss.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Particularly since essentially a child, a 19-year-old, adolescent, if you’d like, killed children over the weekend in California. I mean, it does seem that this issue is simply not being dealt with no matter how exponentially worse the horrors get.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): And I think it’s important to remember that, though much of the country plugs into this issue when there is a mass shooting or when there is a high-profile incident of a child being killed, every single day in this nation about 90 to 100 people die from gunshot wounds. Now, the majority of those are suicides, but we have a dramatic spike in suicides by gun death in this country as well. Many of the others are accidental shootings and homicides. So, this is a daily epidemic in this country and has enormous social cost. What we are lacking in this nation today is a political movement that is strong enough to beat the gun lobby in the United States Congress, and that’s what we’re in the middle of building today. But what we already know is that, on a state-by-state basis, states that have tougher gun laws, states that have universal background checks or states that require you to get a permit before you buy a gun or states that ban semi-automatic weapons, have dramatically lower rates of gun violence, have dramatically lower rates of gun suicides, there are less women that are killed by intimate partners with guns. And so, this isn’t a question of having to guess what policies work and which don’t. We know what policies work and we now have to build them on a national basis.

AMANPOUR: But can I ask you, because, obviously, all-over social media, there are all sorts of different interpretations of what happened. The famous gun lobby chant is good guys need to have guns. Therefore, they will get to the bad guys. I wonder what your assessment is then, in this case, the good guys, the security got there super-fast, within one minute. And yet, the gunman, a 19-year-old was able to kill three people and wound many, many more.

MURPHY: So, there’s no evidence to suggest that this mythology, “A good guy with a gun is the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun,” is actually true. First, let’s just take this. The states that have the higher percentage of citizens with firearms have the highest rates of gun crime. If you have a gun in your home, that gun is exponentially more likely to be used to kill you than it is to be turned on an intruder. If more guns kept countries more safe, then America wouldn’t be the country with the highest level of gun crime. We’d be the country with the lowest level of gun crime. So, there’s zero evidence to suggest that is true. The reason the gun lobby says, “Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns,” is simply because it’s a marketing gimmick. It’s a way to sell more guns, it’s a way to convince Americans that the only way to protect themselves is to arm up.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks to Senator Chris Murphy about gun violence. Sam Bahour discusses whether Jared Kushner’s economic plan is likely to achieve peace in the Middle East. David Friedman joins the program to elaborate on the Trump administration’s economic proposal to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Farai Chideya tells Michel Martin about problems within the U.S. adoption industry.