Republicans are considering a bipartisan deal on gun safety as the Senate’s bipartisan negotiations gain momentum.
Leading gun safety negotiator Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) met with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and then a larger group of senior Republicans on Monday afternoon to give an update on the talks.
According to those in the know who attended Cornyn’s recess meeting, he gave a summary of what he discussed with a small group of senators. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) met with him for two hours Monday night to continue the negotiations.
Democrats are largely deferring to the bipartisan negotiators, unwilling to reject a potential agreement until they see what Republicans will accept.
Amid the onslaught of mass shootings that have taken place across the country, Republicans emerged from their Monday afternoon leadership meeting with surprising optimism about possible legislation.
A place where you can find 60 people who are willing to do something is a goal everyone has. As the No. 4 Republican Senator from Missouri, Roy Blunt believes “something” is the most challenging part of regaining control of the Senate.
It’s a package that would reform background checks, encourage state red flag laws, improve school safety, and provide new mental health programmes, according to multiple people who have been involved in the discussions.
However, even if Sen. Blunt manages to get the Republican senators together on Tuesday afternoon to have a full discussion, it will be days before it is clear where the votes will fall.
Taking action on gun safety does not have a deadline, but after a shooter killed 19 children and two teachers in Texas two weeks ago, Murphy and Cornyn said they were not interested in long-term negotiations.
“This week, my goal is to reach an agreement.” However, I don’t feel pressured in any way during these discussions to meet any deadlines.
If we don’t come up with a solution soon, we’ll have to pay a price to the American people. Murphy said Monday that the pressure he feels comes from the people he represents.
Negotiators “continue to make progress,” Murphy said after meeting with Cornyn and Sinema, but he added, “We have work to do with our colleagues this week to make sure what we’re talking about can get 60 votes.”
The current bipartisan group is focused on significant but more modest reforms that can win 60 votes in the Senate, nine years after Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) struck an agreement to expand background checks, which most Republicans rejected on the Senate floor..
According to a source with direct knowledge of the discussions, one option being discussed is expanding the scope of background checks for people under the age of 21 by requiring them to submit their juvenile records or imposing a waiting period before they can purchase a firearm.
In confirming the proposal’s existence, Cornyn stated that it is just one of many possibilities. In my opinion, if you have mental health issues as a juvenile, there may be a way to get that information into the background-check system.
The small-group discussions are still in flux, and no decision has yet been made in this regard. It would be the most significant overhaul of the background check system in decades if such an idea could be implemented.
To have any chance of passing the Senate, a proposal like this would require the support of at least ten Republican senators, which is a high bar that some in the gun control movement believe can be overcome.
On Monday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held a one-on-one meeting with Texan Senator John Cornyn, who is a close friend of McConnell’s. Speaking to the prospects of an agreement this week, McConnell simply said, “I hope so.”
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) stressed the importance of setting a deadline for the negotiations on Monday, referring to the Democrats’ long-stalled climate-and-jobs bill. We went on and on and on month after month because “we didn’t have a real finite deadline,” according to him.
“I’m trying not to be cynical about it,” Durbin said of the negotiations still in progress. There is so much work to be done, and I’m afraid that we won’t be able to accomplish all that we should.
However, I’m not prepared to give up on efforts to reduce gun violence in the short term.
States could be given more money to set up so-called “red flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate guns from people who are considered dangerous to themselves or others. Mental health programmes, as well as school security, are also being debated by lawmakers.
Even though raising the age to buy a gun from 18 years old to 21 is “controversial,” Cornyn says it is a topic of discussion.
The discussions also include other senators. Additionally, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) make up the larger group (D-Conn.). When asked when everyone else would be meeting, Murphy said, “in the next day or two.”
Beginning on Tuesday, both the Democratic caucus and the Republican conference will hold more in-depth discussions on the subject.
While some Republicans may be able to stomach parts of a gun package, it is unlikely that they will accept the entire package.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said in a recent interview that he could support expanding threat assessments, making it easier for states to pass red flag laws, and making federal guidelines for safe schools permanent.
When asked about expanding background checks and raising the age at which some firearms can be purchased to 21, he said: “We don’t even know if this is constitutional, it can be struck down.” Because of this, I’m not sure any one solution will suffice.
According to a Republican senator who asked to remain anonymous, it may take several days of discussions among GOP conference members before a proposal can win over a significant portion of them.
After a few days, the urgency to act on Capitol Hill diminishes as memories of recent shootings fade.
At Cornyn’s Monday press conference, he cautioned against creating an “arbitrary” timeline for anything.
If Republicans want to keep negotiations open longer than Democrats think is necessary to reach a deal, then the Democrats are concerned.
Schumer said last month that he would give senators some leeway to work out a compromise, but also said that the Senate would eventually vote on gun safety legislation.
- Love After Lockup Season 4 Release Date: Where Can I Watch It?
- A Former Brookfield Business Owner Has Been Punished for Tax Evasion
- The Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3 Release Date: Where You Can Watch It?
Time is their greatest enemy because the public is preoccupied with so many other issues, according to Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del).
To put it simply, “There is a rush of fall elections, there is the natural difficulty of passing any compromise legislation in the Senate, and there is the distraction of many other issues.””