Connecticut's U.S. senators blamed Congress for the killing of at least 50 people early Sunday at an Orlando club, saying lawmakers' inaction on gun control makes them "complicit" in the shooting rampage.
Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats and vocal gun control advocates, represent the community of Newtown, where a gunman fatally shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
"This phenomenon of near constant mass shootings happens only in America – nowhere else," Murphy said Sunday. "Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence. This doesn't have to happen, but this epidemic will continue without end if Congress continues to sit on its hands and do nothing – again."
“As we learn more in shock and horror about the deadliest mass shooting in our history, my heart breaks for the families of loved ones lost or injured – and for our nation, continuing to suffer from this unspeakable epidemic of gun violence," Blumenthal said. "The Senate’s inaction on commonsense gun violence prevention makes it complicit in this public health crisis. Prayers and platitudes are insufficient. The American public is beseeching us to act on commonsense, sensible gun violence prevention measures, and we must heed that call.”
A gunman killed 50 people and injured at least 53 at Pulse, a gay nightclub in downtown Orlando, in what police are calling the worst shooting in American history. Authorities say Omar Mateen stormed the club around 2 a.m. Sunday and opened fire. He was later killed by police.
Months after the Newtown shooting, the Senate tried but failed to pass a measure expanding background checks on firearm purchases. The amendment had the support of 90 percent of Americans, but fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed to break a Republican-led filibuster.
UPDATE: 9:30 p.m. -- Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) tweeted Sunday evening that he would no longer take part in moments of silence on the floor of the House of Representatives, calling for action on gun control: