McConnell Signals Republicans May Negotiate Gun Reform

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been at odds for months over how to address the debt limit
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been at odds for months over how to address the debt limit

Republicans have come under sustained fire by Democrats and activists for their refusal to consider enacting any new gun control measures in the wake of two mass shootings in the span of two weeks. 

Now Republicans are signaling a thaw in their opposition to reforms. 

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he met with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and encouraged him to begin discussions with Democratic senators to determine if they can find some grounds for compromise on gun legislation.  

“I met with Sen. Cornyn this morning. As you know, he went home yesterday to see the family members and begin the fact-finding of this awful massacre and I have encouraged him to talk with Sen. [Chris] Murphy, D-Conn., and Sen. [Kyrsten] Sinema, D-Ariz., and others who are interested in trying to get an outcome that is directly related to the problem. I am hopeful that we could come up with a bipartisan solution,” McConnell said in an interview with CNN.

Cornyn, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is the senior senator of Texas, has already made clear that he does not want to see any reforms infringe on Second Amendment rights, but he has in the past signaled support for some limited measures on background checks and red flag laws.

In a separate interview, Cornyn said that he was already in touch with Murphy, who has been an ardent proponent of gun reforms since his state experienced the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The shooting at Robb Elementary School killed19 school children and two teachers. It came a little over a week after a racist gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 Black people.

Democrats have repeatedly assailed Republicans for their refusal to consider new gun reforms. President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for "those who obstruct or delay" gun reforms to take action. 

On Wednesday, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke angrily confronted Texas Republicans including Gov. Greg Abbot for “doing nothing” to protect children from future school shootings. O’Rourke is currently running as the Democratic nominee for governor. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed little optimism about a bipartisan solution, but indicated that Democrats are willing to give some time and space for efforts to reach some kind of compromise with Republicans. 

“I know this is a slim prospect — very slim, all too slim. We’ve been burned so many times before. But this is so important,” Schumer said on Thursday.

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