HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Members of Connecticut's Democratic congressional delegation expressed frustration Friday that efforts to combat gun violence have been stymied since the 2012 deadly Newtown school shooting, pointing blame at many of their colleagues in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Chris Murphy called it "disgusting" that Congress has been unwilling to accept any of the options he contends could help stem mass shootings, pointing to Thursday's mostly party-line Senate vote against expanding background checks for more gun purchases. It was the same proposal the Senate rejected in early 2013, months after 20 first graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Since Wednesday's deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, the federal lawmakers have urged their colleagues to take action next week, before Congress' holiday break, to address mass shootings.
"We don't have to accept this as inevitable. We don't have to live in fear every single day," Murphy said. "But Congress has to get off their a-- and start working on behalf of the American people to stop this mass slaughter."
Murphy received national attention on Thursday when he expressed his frustration through Twitter, sending the message, "Your 'thoughts' should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your 'prayers' should be for forgiveness if you do nothing - again." Murphy said his message was retweeted 22,000 times.
Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, accused Murphy of "prayer-shaming," saying the senator's tweet was offensive.
"What Senator Murphy and his friends are saying is that unless you support their preferred public policy remedy - gun control - your prayers are meaningless platitudes and you are complicit in the murders that are committed. Such assertions are disgusting."
Murphy was joined Friday for a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Reps. Elizabeth Esty and John Larson. All appeared exasperated by the lack of congressional action.
Blumenthal said Thursday's vote proved that the Congress is "hostage to the gun lobby" and "complicit in failing to act."
In a message sent out on Twitter, the National Rifle Association said it "won't accept the blame for murderers nor apologize for fighting for our right to defend against them."