Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) on Sunday predicted a “popular revolt” if the Supreme Court blocks legislative efforts to tighten gun laws.
“If the Supreme Court eventually says that states or the Congress can’t pass universal background checks or can’t take these assault weapons off the streets, I think there’s going to be a popular revolt over that policy,” Murphy told NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
“A court that’s already pretty illegitimate is going to be in full crisis mode,” Murphy added.
A Monmouth University poll last month found that 81% of respondents supported universal background checks. Lax gun laws are a major concern to most people, with 2023 gun deaths approaching 16,000 and mass shootings now numbering 224, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The Supreme Court is already embroiled in controversy for overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, and also for ethical lapses. Justice Clarence Thomas, according to ProPublica, failed to report his acceptance of lavish gifts, luxury travel and a relative’s private school tuition from a conservative billionaire. Chief Justice John Roberts has rejected a Senate Judiciary Committee request to testify about the court’s lack of an enforceable ethics code.
Murphy was asked to weigh in on a federal judge’s ruling last week striking down a rule banning the sale of handguns for those aged 18 to 20.
“If the Court were to exclude 18-to-21-year-olds from the Second Amendment’s protection, it would impose limitations on the Second Amendment that do not exist from other constitutional guarantees,” U.S. District Judge Robert Payne of the Eastern District of Virginia said, according to CNN, citing a test established by the Supreme Court over the Second Amendment last year.
Murphy, one of the most prominent gun control advocates in Congress, argued the U.S. has made progress on gun control. He cited the bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s passage last summer, which enhanced background checks for those under 21 and cracked down on abusive domestic partners obtaining weapons.
“We broke a 30-year logjam last year by passing the first major gun safety initiative,” the senator told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “You have seen Republican states like Tennessee looking at red flag laws, Texas considering raising the age to buy assault weapons. I think our movement is in a position to win.”
“Does it worry me, what some of these district courts are doing?” he asked. “Absolutely. But right now, I think our focus has got to be about growing the movement and continuing to capitalize on the progress of last year.”