In the U.S. Senate, some Republican senators appear open to signing off on Democrat-proposed efforts to increase gun control restrictions in the wake of several recent mass shootings.
Politico reports that the negotiations are being led on the Republican side by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas). Cornyn has already briefed Republican leadership on what he has discussed with other senators over last week’s recess, and recently held a meeting with Democrats Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to move talks forward.
Cornyn, Murphy, and Sinema, along with Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), are allegedly working on a single package that would include background checks, incentives for individual states to implement red flag laws, school safety measures, and new mental health programs.
“There’s a desire to find a place where you can find 60 members willing to do something. But I think the ‘something’ is the hard part,” said Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the fourth highest-ranking Republican in the Senate. Blunt said he intends to initiate a full discussion among the entire Republican caucus on Tuesday, which may began a process of many days to determine just how many votes the effort might really have.
Despite there being no official deadline for a vote on any gun control measures, Murphy said that he wants to try to force something through within a week.
“My goal is to get an agreement this week. But I don’t feel any deadlines being put upon me in these negotiations. We’re going to pay a price with the American public if we don’t come up with a deal soon,” Murphy claimed. “The pressure I feel is from the people that I represent.”
In addition to the aforementioned four senators, other members of the Senate involved in the talks include Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
The negotiations come after two mass shootings within a week of each other in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas; the former saw 10 people killed at a supermarket before the gunman was arrested, and the latter saw 21 people killed at an elementary school before the perpetrator was gunned down. In Uvalde, 19 of the 21 victims were elementary school students, sparking widespread mourning and a renewed push by gun control advocates to restrict Second Amendment rights.