In the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, President Joe Biden said he is looking for “rational Republicans” who are ready to work with Democrats on gun control legislation.
Two such “rational Republicans” are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Biden said.
“I think there’s a realization on the part of rational Republicans — and I consider McConnell a rational Republican, and Cornyn is as well. I think there’s a recognition on their part … that we can’t continue like this. We can’t do this,” the president told reporters after returning to the White House on Monday.
Biden has promised that he will do something to restrict guns but said he has his limitations as president.
“But I can’t outlaw a weapon. I can’t, you know, change the background checks,” he said. “I can’t do that.”
That is why he is looking for help from Republicans in Congress to enact new gun laws.
“We’re already having those discussions in person and on the phone. Look forward to meeting on Tuesday through a Zoom call to try to see if we can agree on a basic framework about how we go forward,” the Texas Republican told reporters in San Antonio.
Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the lead Democratic negotiator, said he hoped to have a framework for some kind of deal by next week.
Eight GOP senators met last week to organize these talks. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana were among them, The Hill reported.
Since the school shooting in Uvalde and the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on May 14, politicians in Washington have felt more pressure to take some sort of action.
Democrats are hoping that will lead to new restrictions on firearms.
“My hope is that this time is different. I get it. Every single time, after one of these mass shootings, there’s talks in Washington and they never succeed. But there are more Republicans interested in talking about finding a path forward this time than I have ever seen since Sandy Hook,” Murphy told ABC News, referring to the 2012 school shooting in his home state.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a Republican who has sided with the Democrats on several issues, said his views on gun control have changed.
The congressman, who is retiring after his term ends, told ABC News that “raising the age of gun purchase to 21 is a no-brainer.”
“If you look at the Parkland shooting, you look at Buffalo, you look at this shooting, these are people under the age of 21. We know that the human brain develops and matures a lot between the age of 18 and 21,” Kinzinger said. “We just raised — without really so much as a blink — the age of purchasing cigarettes federally to 21.”
Along with the push to raise the age required to buy a gun, Democrats are also hoping to enact a national “red flag” law, Axios reported. That would allow law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from someone who is considered a danger to others or themselves.
Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have red flag laws.
Murphy said that increased background checks, safe storage requirements, more security money for schools and mental health resources also might be on the negotiating table, ABC News reported.
The Democrat told CBS News he doesn’t expect Republicans to support his call for a ban on so-called assault weapons.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the Senate will address gun control when Congress returns on Monday, Politico reported.
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