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Chris Murphy @ChrisMurphyCT
, 29 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
It’s not complicated. If you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. That’s why today, I’m introducing the Background Check Expansion Act to close the loopholes in our gun laws and save lives.
97% of Americans support universal background checks. The only place this bill is controversial is in the halls of Congress. If my colleagues need a reason to support it, here are 97 of them.
Esmerelda Padilla, was just 3 years old when she, her mother and a bystander were shot and wounded by Rufino Cervantez, a convicted felon who would not have been able to pass a background check.
The Padillas had recently left the hospital where Esmerelda was receiving treatment for kidney cancer when she was shot. "We are fighting with the cancer and everything and then this happens," said her father. "It's very hard."
Darien Richardson was 25 when she was shot and died in 2010. The gun used in her murder was recovered after it was sold without a background check to another buyer. Her parents Judi and Wayne miss her every single day.
Jitka Vesel broke off her brief relationship with Dmitry Smirnov, but he continued to contact her against her wishes. He shot her twelve times with a gun he obtained without a background check.
Just over a week ago in Philadelphia, three people were killed in a murder-suicide, including a seven-year-old child, despite the fact that the shooter shouldn’t have been able to get a gun due to a prior criminal record.
Joseph Shinners was a police officer in Provo, UT when he was killed in the line of duty by a convicted felon who shouldn’t have been able to obtain a weapon. He left behind a young family.
The shooters from Columbine High School had a friend buy their guns from a private seller at a gun show in Denver. Private sale = no background check. They killed 13 people and wounded 21 more.
Cassie Bernall was 17. Her parents used to call her Bunny Rabbit. Steven Curnow was 14 and a Star Wars movie buff. Corey Depooter planned to join the Marines after graduation.
Kelly Fleming was 16. Her family said she was the type of person who took time to notice the little things like sunrises and sunsets. Kyle Valasquez, 16 was known as a "gentle giant."
William “Dave” Sanders was a beloved teacher and coach who tried to alert as many students as possible during the shooting to get them to safety. He was 47.
Isaiah Shoels was 18, just weeks away from graduation. John Tomlin’s two biggest loves were “Chevys and church”. Lauren Townsend, 18 was planning to study wildlife biology at Colorado State University in the fall.
Daniel Mauser, 15, was smart and shy but pushed himself to try new things - joining the debate team and cross country club. His father Tom still wears his son’s sneakers as he travels the country to advocate for universal background checks.
Valerie Jackson, her six children and her husband Dwayne were shot and killed in Houston, TX by her ex-boyfriend, who was able to buy a gun online despite having a criminal history.
Five people shot in Seattle. Three shot at a mall in Iowa City. James Clark, age 19 killed in Gary, IN. Dakota Malone in Rome, GA. The common denominator? Shot by people who are prohibited from owning a gun.
Zina Daniel’s husband was barred from buying a gun because of a restraining order. He was able to purchase a gun online through a private dealer, which he used to kill Zina, Cary Robuck, and Maelyn Lind, and injure four others.
Cary Robuck talked to her father, Tim, on the phone every week. She had been talking about buying a house. She loved to work in her garden, cook and take her dog for walks.
Maelyn Lind had four children. She was a selfless woman who worked three jobs to support her family and would drop all of her plans to help a friend.
Jasamyne Blunt was killed in Pensacola, FL. Jasmine Harris, age 20, killed in Omaha, NE. John Michael Songer, age 20 in Charlotte, NC. Two men killed near Memphis, TN. Two injured in Waterbury, CT just last week. All shot by people prohibited from owning a firearm.
Kedarie Johnson had the sort of electric personality that dominated a room, said his mom. The gun used to kill him was purchased on Facebook without a background check. He was just 16.
The AK-47 used to kill 5 Dallas police officers and injure 11 others in 2016 was sold in a Target parking lot in a transaction arranged in a private Facebook group. No background check.
Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa all chose to spend their careers serving with the Dallas PD. Many of them served in the military. Their lives were cut short by senseless violence made possible by our nation’s loose gun laws.
Earlier this fall a man barred from possessing firearms shot and injured four of his co-workers in Middleton, WI. Despite being a prohibited purchaser, he managed to amass a “huge cache of weapon parts and ammunition.”
Boston police officer Kurt Stokinger was shot and injured in the line of duty by a convicted felon with a gun purchased through an online peer-to-peer arms dealer. No background check.
Sarah Schmidt took out a restraining order against her husband. But just days after his release from county jail, he found a someone online who sold him a gun without a background check in the parking lot of a WalMart. He shot and killed Sarah the next night.
If you’re counting at home, that’s 97 people who were injured or killed by someone who would not have been able to pass a background check.

97 reasons for my colleagues here in Congress to pass the Background Check Expansion Act.
But if that’s not enough to compel my colleagues here’s one more number for them: 38.

That’s the number of NRA-backed incumbents who lost their seats in 2018 to new members who ran on a promise to pass stronger gun laws.
Our democracy doesn’t allow Congress to stay this out of step with our constituents for long. When 97% of Americans support universal background checks, members of the House and Senate should listen.
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