The political action committee that formed in the wake of the Orlando shooting massacre at Pulse nightclub is endorsing Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida's U.S. Senate race.
Jason Lindsay, executive director of the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, said Murphy supports the kind of "common-sense" gun regulations Americans -- including a majority of gun owners -- want.
"I firmly believe the types and legality of the weapons that I carried on the streets of Baghdad don’t belong on the streets of America," said Lindsay, who said he is an Iraq War veteran who served in the U.S. Army Reserves.
On a conference call with reporters this morning, Murphy, a two-term congressman from Jupiter, said Congress should pass expanded background checks and close what's known as the "terrorist loophole," which allows individuals suspected to be terrorists to purchase guns. A measure to close the loophole failed in June after the Orlando shooting.
Murphy and Lindsay both criticized Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for "consistently voting against" gun-control proposals, including after the Pulse shooting.
"He used the tragic shooting in Orlando as reason to run for re-election but yet he’s continued to vote against all common-sense gun safety legislation," Lindsay said.
Murphy also accused Rubio of "pandering to his extreme right-wing base" by not supporting the measures.
Rubio's campaign spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas defended the senator's support for the Second Amendment and his votes on recent gun bills.
"(Rubio) supports laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families," Perez-Cubas said in a statement. "The tragedy in Orlando was a terrorist attack carried out by a homegrown radical extremist. That's why Marco voted for efforts that would alert the FBI and delay the purchase of weapons for anyone currently on or previously on the terrorist watch list. Ultimately, Marco believes we need to defeat ISIS and confront the radical jihadist ideology leading to the violence we see around the world."
Murphy acknowledged "obviously there’s no guarantees" that Congress would pass gun-control reform if Murphy is elected over Rubio in November.
"But that speaks to the importance of this election and the importance of getting new leadership –- to make sure that Democrats are in the majority," Murphy said. "There's no doubt in my mind if (New York Democratic Sen.) Chuck Schumer is the majority leader, there will be a vote early on to pass common-sense gun measures."
Murphy's conference call was re-scheduled twice Tuesday morning to accommodate Murphy's "vote schedule" in a committee -- a point Murphy and his aides mentioned several times on the call.
It was a way for the campaign to not-so-subtly emphasize Murphy's commitment to his job; Murphy's campaign has repeatedly attacked Rubio for not being a dedicated senator and for having a poor attendance record in the U.S. Senate.
Photo credit: Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post
*This post has been updated with comment from Rubio's campaign.