Serious Senate bipartisan talks on gun control underway: Murphy

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Serious Senate bipartisan talks on gun control underway: Murphy

​Serious bipartisan negotiations are underway in the Senate to come up with new gun laws to prevent mass ​shootings such as those at an elementary school in Texas and a grocery store in Buffalo​, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.) said Sunday​.

The Democrat said some states have taken the initiative and passed tighter gun restrictions in the 10 years since the killing of 20 students and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut but added that federal legislation is needed and that he hopes “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’ “This Week.​”

“In the end, I may end up being heartbroken. [But] I am at the table in a more significant way right now with Republicans and Democrats than ever before. Certainly, many more Republicans are willing to talk right now than they were willing to talk after Sandy Hook​,” he said. ​

Murphy, who gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday — after 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos slaughtered 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — said it is “inconceivable” to him that Congress failed to take action on guns after the Newtown, Ct., killings. 

“The pace of everyday gun violence has dramatically escalated over the past two years,” he said.

People gather outside a supermarket in Buffalo, NY where several people were killed on May 14, 2022.
People gather outside a supermarket in Buffalo, NY where several people were killed on May 14, 2022.
Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP

Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said he hopes fellow lawmakers involved in the bipartisan talks will “do the right thing.” He added that he also noticed a change in the chamber prompted by the horrific slaying of the young students in Texas.

“I can’t say for certain, but I can tell you I sense a different feeling among my colleagues after Uvalde,” Durbin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Do the right thing, and do as much as you can do,” he said he told his colleagues involved in the talks.

Rep. Chris Murphy is talking with his Republican counterparts to reach some common ground on gun measures.
Rep. Chris Murphy is talking with his Republican counterparts to reach some common ground on gun measures.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
The governor said the suspected gunman, a local who has been identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, has died, and is believed to have been killed by responding officers.
The governor said the suspected gunman, a local who has been identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, has died, and is believed to have been killed by responding officers.
Elsa G Ruiz/Facebook

“And let’s join together, if we can, on a bipartisan basis and show the American people that what happened in Uvalde was not in vain,” said the Illinois pol.

Although the Senate is on recess for the Memorial Day holiday and not due to return to work until June 6, Democrats, led by Murphy, are talking with their Republican counterparts to reach some common ground on gun measures. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he is willing to support gun-safety legislation after the mass killings in Texas.

GOP Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina have met with Murphy.

Murphy has also huddled with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who as governor of the Sunshine State in 2018 signed legislation raising the legal age to buy a gun to 21 from 18. 

Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo speaks at a press conference following the shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo speaks at a press conference following the shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Austin American-Statesman-USA TO

Murphy said the Florida law, passed after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people, could be a model for the Senate. 

“The Florida law is a good law. And it’s a signal of what’s possible, right? It married together changes to Florida’s gun laws with some significant investments in mental health and school security,” Murphy said on ABC.​

The senator said he talked with Scott last week to learn about the legislation and how state Republican lawmakers defied the Nationa​l Rifle Association, which opposed the measure.

Sen. Chris Murphy said it is "inconceivable" to him that Congress failed to take action on guns after the Newtown, Ct., killings. 
Sen. Chris Murphy said it is “inconceivable” to him that Congress failed to take action on guns after the Newtown, Ct., killings. 
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“So that kind of legislation certainly is a model​,” Murphy said.

​”​It certainly is the kind of thing that would make a big difference and would make a lot of families and kids in this country feel more secure and more safe if it passed at a national lev​el.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said he will press the chamber to vote on two House-passed pieces of legislation on expanding background checks for gun purchases.

In the meantime, he’s encouraging the senators to try to reach a compromise. 

The renewed effort to debate gun-control measures was prompted by outrage over the killing of 19 students and two teachers in Texas on Tuesday, as well as the slaughter 10 days earlier by 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who gunned down 10 black people at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo.

Both shooters used AR-15-style assault rifles, as did Adam Lanza in Newtown and Nikolas Cruz in Parkland. 

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