The Connecticut delegation has had enough.
As Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., waged a filibuster on the Senate floor, his fellow Connecticut Democrats rallied around him, showing up in the chamber and bringing him sustenance.
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.
Late Wednesday morning, Murphy said Sunday’s attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, was his breaking point and he was sick of inaction. He resolved to stand on the Senate floor until lawmakers took action.
Two and a half hours into his speech, Newtown Rep. Elizabeth Esty was spotted carrying a tray of food and drinks to keep Murphy going.
“We co-represent Newtown and for us in Connecticut, this is deeply personal that this Congress has failed to act,” said Esty, a Democrat.
“I think we need to raise our voices and we need to demonstrate to the people we represent, as well as the American people, that their leaders have a responsibility to take action,” Esty said. “And we each only have one vote, but the American people have a really loud voice.”
Senate Democrats Begin Filibuster Over Gun Control
Esty’s tray was complete with a can of the Red Bull energy drink, which she said Murphy “lives on,” an apple, hot dogs, Doritos, Powerade and Mountain Dew. She also had deodorant “in case it goes really long.”
It’s not clear whether Murphy could enjoy these goodies: By precedence, senators cannot eat on the floor or drink anything other than milk or water.
Connecticut Democratic Reps. Joe Courtney and Jim Himes also sat in the Senate chamber earlier in the afternoon to support their colleague.
“Go Huskies,” Courtney said as he left the floor, referencing the University of Connecticut’s mascot.
“It’s a small family but we like to support each other,” Himes said of the delegation. “And obliviously it was a family that was very very badly hurt at Sandy Hook Elementary School. So you may have noticed that we’re trying to raise more than the usual ruckus.”
Himes led several Democrats in walking out of the House during a moment of silence for the Orlando victims Monday night, arguing 10 seconds of silence was shameful without congressional action.
Murphy did not inform them that he was going to stage the filibuster. Himes found out from his communications director, and Courtney saw a tweet about it.
Courtney was optimistic that Congress would eventually address gun violence, citing pressure to do so on the campaign trail. But Himes did not believe Congress would act in the wake of the Orlando attack during which a lone gunman killed 49 people, since that would mean Republicans would be admitting that guns were a part of the problem.
“I think we need to influence the debate outside this building,” Himes said.
“We need to change the way we think about guns, that it’s somehow some empowering thing that makes me a better person and a safer person,” Himes later added. “We need to understand that these things are killing more people in two years in this country than the Vietnam War over the course of its entire run.”
Alex Gangitano contributed to this report.