Politics

Democrat Launches Fund to Support Gun Control Candidates

Sen. Chris Murphy is taking the issue to the campaign trail

Murphy, center, conducted a filibuster over gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who led a filibuster for stricter gun laws after the Orlando nightclub massacre, will fulfill a promise to push the issue on the campaign trail.  

On Thursday, Murphy launched the "Fund to End Gun Violence," which will back House and Senate candidates. Endorsements are expected in coming weeks and months, according to a news release.  

“This will be a long fight, but it’s one we will win," Murphy said in a statement. "We will not break the gun lobby’s decades-long hold on Congress overnight. I have faith that American democracy will not allow for its elected officials to be so out of step."

The campaign fund, which was first reported by Politico, will back candidates who support three policies: universal background checks on all gun sales; banning suspected terrorists from purchasing guns; and ending the ban on gun violence research at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Murphy led a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in June to call for action on gun violence. He pledged to capitalize on the marathon session and support congressional  candidates with like-minded views on gun control. Democrats in the House followed up with civil disobedience that began with a much-publicized sit-in.

[ With New Clout, Murphy Vows to Take Gun Control Push to the Polls ]

The political arm of National Rifle Association has long supported gun rights candidates and used its clout and dollars to defeat those supporting gun control.

[ Will Firearm Filibuster Bring Progress? ]  

Democrats said they will continue to push for action on guns when Congress returns from its summer recess in September. Senate Democrats have been sharply critical of congressional inaction, despite high-profile mass shootings in San Bernardino, California; Boulder, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina, and Orlando on June 12, the worst in U.S. history.

"The shattering silence of this Congress when it come to gun safety is a prime example," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

The Republican-led Congress has fought Democratic attempts for tightening gun laws, and nothing that was proposed after the Orlando shooting made it through either House.

Murphy has been a leading voice calling for action to combat gun violence since his home state was shattered in 2012 by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that left 26 dead, including 20 children.

An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll conducted after Murphy's filibuster found that 61 percent of those surveyed supported stricter gun control laws.

A poll conducted last month in Florida suggests that votes on gun measures could have an impact on election results. 

 Contact Bowman at  bridgetbowman@rollcall.com  and follow her on Twitter at @bridgetbhc .

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