Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is a busy man these days. The senator is hard at work trying to persuade enough squishy Republican types to sign on to legislation that would further restrict gun rights for law-abiding citizens.
The majority of GOP lawmakers are firmly opposed to new gun control laws. Murphy and other Democrats in the Senate are hoping to craft a proposal that would enable them to peel off at least 10 Republicans who might be more amenable to supporting a gun control measure.
Murphy is currently in talks with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who was tasked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to enter into negotiations with Democrats over gun legislation. The senator has rejected the idea of seeking support from the White House, as President Joe Biden has called for sweeping restrictions on firearms. During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Murphy insisted that “the Senate needs to do this ourselves.”
Currently, Murphy and Cornyn are looking at a Florida law passed in 2018 after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland as a template to follow for national legislation. He told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Florida’s law is likely the best chance to get enough support from Republicans to pass in the Senate.
“The template for Florida is the right one. Which is do some significant mental health investment, some school safety money and some modest, but impactful, changes in gun laws,” the lawmaker said. “That’s the kind of package we’re putting together right now. That’s the kind of package I think can pass the Senate.”
The Sunshine State’s gun legislation is what is known as a red flag law. It raised the age to buy long guns – which includes AR-15s – from 18 to 21. It implemented a three-day waiting period and allows trained school staff to carry firearms. It also allocates $400 million for school security and mental health.
Murphy did not indicate whether the national legislative proposal would also raise the age to buy long guns. However, he did note that altering the background check system is a possibility–even though Democrats would not likely be able to impose universal background checks.
But Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” indicated he was still hopeful the Senate could pass such a measure. “I certainly hope we’re going to have an expansion of background checks,” he said. “You know, Senator [Joe] Manchin and I have been working on this for a long time. And we’ve tried to establish that, at least for commercial sales of firearms, there ought to be a background check.”
He later added: “But I just think it makes sense. We all agree that violent criminals and deranged dangerously mentally ill people shouldn’t have firearms.”
It is not only Republican politicians who are open to more gun legislation. Politico reported:
More than 250 Texas gun enthusiasts and conservative donors placed a full-page ad in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News endorsing the negotiations between Cornyn and Murphy, specifically, the expanded background checks, red flag laws, and a higher age minimum to buy certain firearms.
I’ve got some bad news, dear reader.
This might actually happen.
At first, I didn’t think it possible. But Democrats are using the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to pressure Republican lawmakers to pass gun legislation – even though they know it won’t prevent future tragedies of this type. It’s not like GOP lawmakers haven’t voted for these laws before.
Yes, the majority of Republicans in the Senate wouldn’t dare to touch such a proposal. But there just might be enough who will give in. In fact, several GOP lawmakers signaled that they would be willing to consider red flag laws similar to what Murphy and Cornyn are cooking up. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) indicated he would be open to this type of law. “I’m very open to more red flag opportunities – though nobody has a stronger red flag than New York, I don’t think, and they just had an equally horrendous event,” he told Politico.
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) in the past has expressed support for red flag legislation and said he would welcome another conversation on these restrictions after the Uvalde shooting. In fact, about 10 GOP senators said they might support red flag legislation. Democrats need only 10 Republicans to pass such a measure, which would easily pass in the House.
Now is the time to pressure your lawmakers if they have indicated they might support national red flag laws. If they think they can get away with it, these people will not hesitate to sign on to more restrictions on firearms. This will only get Democrats closer to their ultimate goal, which would be to curtail all gun ownership.