Senators in final stages: Murphy says gun-reform package is close, not too drastic

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut announced that senators were “closer than ever before” to achieving a gun-reform package. However, it won’t contain the assault weapons ban or comprehensive background checks that Democrats have consistently wanted to include in such bills.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Murphy claimed that he hadn’t seen talks on gun reform reach such a “serious” level since the terrible mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a decade ago. He also said that both parties have come together to take “commonsense steps,” without infringing upon the Second Amendment. Nevertheless, the senator conceded that “we’re not going to do everything I want.”

“We’re not going to put a piece of legislation​ on​ the table that’s going to ban assault weapons, or we’re not going to pass comprehensive background checks,” he said. “But, right now, people in this country want us to make progress. They just don’t want the status quo to continue for another 30 years​.”

“We’re talking about a meaningful change in our gun laws, a major investment in mental health, perhaps some money for school security, that would make a difference,” Murphy added.

Among the bill’s provisions will likely be various mental health measures, along with increased money for school security, and changes to so-called red flag laws. However, Murphy admitted that the bipartisan talks are still ongoing and that right now, senators are working to cobble together a piece of legislation while “trying to figure out what can get 60 to 70 votes in the Senate.”

The bipartisan talks were authorized by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the wake of a spate of mass shootings around the country, including the massacre of 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store and the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers at Uvalde, Texas.

Last week, President Joe Biden summoned the energy for a rare evening address to the nation, where he announced that no right was absolute, in an obvious dig at the Second Amendment. And this is after he targeted 9mm handguns.

“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if we can’t ban assault weapons then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21,” he said while making the customary statements about needing more background checks and red flag laws.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was also involved in the talks, along with Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Toomey said that there were various mechanisms that could be employed to expand background checks.

“We all agree that violent criminals and deranged dangerously mentally ill people shouldn’t have firearms. So we need a mechanism to increase the likelihood that will identify such a person and prevent them from buying a gun legally anyway…and so that’s the idea behind expanding background checks,” he said. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who had his own run-in with a deranged gunman, also weighed in on the issue on “Fox News Sunday,” saying that lawmakers need to focus on the root causes of the violence rather than attacking the Second Amendment.

“You had members, Democrats, cursing out the Second Amendment. You had members saying, well, if we can’t get this, we’re going to blow up the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court to get around the Second Amendment,” he said. “The Second Amendment is not some guideline, it’s part of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and it’s there for a reason, by the way. Every day in America people use guns to defend themselves.”


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