Majority Want Assault Weapons Ban, So Why Don't Dems Filibuster for That?

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Majority Want Assault Weapons Ban, So Why Don't Dems Filibuster for That?

Outrage over government inaction on gun control has reached a fever pitch days after the Orlando shooting massacre

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) launched the filibuster as the Senate began debating a spending bill to which Democrats hoped to attach measures that would prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and require universal background checks. (Screenshot: C-SPAN)

Outrage over government inaction on gun control has reached a fever pitch days after the Orlando shooting massacre that left 49 people dead. 

While Democrats staged a dramatic talking filibuster on the floor of the Senate Wednesday afternoon demanding so-called commonsense gun reform, hundreds of thousands of Americans are asking lawmakers to go even further and pass a ban on all assault weapons.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) launched the filibuster at roughly 11:20 AM, as the Senate began debating a spending bill to which Democrats hoped to attach measures that would prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and require universal background checks.

"I am standing up to say, We have had enough. We will not tolerate inaction any longer," declared Murphy, who became a top control advocate after the 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hooked Elementary, which killed 20 children in his home state.

And though Murphy was quickly backed up by Senate colleagues including Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and others, as Politico noted, there is disagreement over details of the legislation, which in part denies a person the ability to purchase a firearm if they are included on a "terrorist watchlist" or "no-fly list."

As Common Dreams previously reported, such lists are extremely problematic. As Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director Trevor Timm noted the last time this bill was up for vote, "the list is a due-process nightmare that is riddled with mistakes and has ensnared countless innocent people over the past decade and a half."

All the more reason, advocates say, for passing substantive gun reform.

As of this writing, over 525,000 people have signed a petition calling for an immediate ban on all assault weapons.

"Orlando. Sandy Hook. Aurora. San Bernardino. What do these horrific shootings have in common? Assault weapons," states the petition, which will be delivered to both houses of Congress and President Barack Obama. "Right now, these mass-killing weapons are available for purchase on-line, at trade shows, and at gun brokers across our nation. They have become the weapon of choice for mass shooters."

The windfall support mirrors a new CBS News poll released Wednesday which found that 57 percent of Americans now support such a ban, which is an increase of 13 points since December.

Support for the filibuster, which is expected to last through Wednesday evening, and immediate action on gun control is being shared on social media with the hashtag #Enough.

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