Two-party talks about passing a new federal gun bill continued over Memorial Day weekend, despite members of Congress not sitting in a weeklong recess that also set a deadline for a potential breakthrough, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said Monday.
In a tweetThe leading Democrat in the negotiations wrote that he and others in his party met with some Republican Senate colleagues over the holiday weekend about a potential bill aimed at tackling gun violence.
The Senate left Washington on Thursday, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., signaling a brief reversal for the compromise legislation — members would vote on a June 6 return to the chamber.
“In between parades, I was on the phone today with Republican and Democratic senators trying to find the common denominator in a gun violence bill,” Murphy said. wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Senator Schumer has given us a little over a week to find a compromise. This time, failure may not be an option.”
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has blessed the negotiations and instructed Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas to lead the GOP in the negotiations. Murphy has said that in the wake of two high-profile mass shootings in recent weeks, “much more” Republicans appear to be willing about gun reforms than in the past.
While the issue is deeply divisive in Congress — where conservatives are opposing major gun-related legislative efforts — Cornyn reiterated Murphy on Monday by saying talks were at least underway. “We’re already having those discussions in person and on the phone. I’m looking forward to meeting Tuesday via a Zoom call to see if we can agree on a basic framework on how to proceed,” he said.
Murphy told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl on Sunday that the negotiations were “serious” and already circled some details, including so-called “red flag” laws that would allow for the removal of firearms from people with histories of threatening or dangerous behavior.
“We kept working through the weekend. I was in touch with Sen. Cornyn and Sen. [Pat] Toomey, other Republicans and Democrats yesterday,” said Murphy, who represents the community including Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of a 2012 mass shooting.
“In this room, we’re talking ‘red flag’ laws, we’re talking reinforcement, expanding the background check system, if not universal background checks. We’re talking safe storage,” Murphy said, pointing out that school security measures and mental health resources were also discussed.
The calls have been made about the “profile” of mass shooters, Murphy said — particularly the pattern of many of the perpetrators as young men between the ages of 18 and 21.
“Right now we’re having a discussion in this room about the profile of the current mass shooter… That’s a profile that doesn’t buy you a gun, but you can buy an assault rifle. And so there are discussions that take place in these rooms about how they recognize this profile and maybe make it a little harder for those individuals to get their hands on guns quickly,” Murphy said.
The legislator, who was elected to the Senate in 2012, drew new attention in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting last week that killed 19 students and two teachers. Murphy, one of Congress’ most vocal voices on gun control, again urged action, including from Republicans, many of whom argue the laws are misguided or violating the Second Amendment.
On “This Week,” Murphy reiterated his concerns about the lack of federal legislation on the subject in the nearly ten years since Sandy Hook — a period that has also been colored by a slew of other high-profile mass shootings.
“And while I may be heartbroken in the end, I am now sitting at the table with Republicans and Democrats in a more significant way than ever before,” Murphy said. “Certainly, a lot more Republicans willing to talk now than were willing to talk after Sandy Hook.”
Murphy pointed to his recent discussions with Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who now represents the state in Congress over another Parkland school shooting, where a gunman shot and killed 17 students and employees at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. . that massacre, the then government. Scott signed a law tightening gun control measures, including raising the minimum age for possession of guns from 18 to 21.
“I had a long chat with Senator Scott last week and had him tell me the story of how they could pass that legislation and get Republicans to support it,” Murphy said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s possible yet, if the voices are there to raise the age, but we’re having a discussion about what to do with that particular profile,” he said. “And it’s an encouraging conversation.”
Trish Turner of ABC News contributed to this report.