Jun 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Senators tout "realistic" gun control goals amid more mass shootings

Efforts to pass bipartisan gun legislation are making serious progress as Republicans appear more amenable to change the laws, lawmakers suggested Sunday on the weekly news show circuit.

The big picture: A bipartisan group of senators convened after the deadly mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, to try to craft narrowly-focused gun control legislation that can win over Senate Republicans.

Americans seem to generally support stricter gun control legislation. Seventy percent think enacting new gun control laws should take precedence over protecting gun ownership, an ABC/Ipsos poll out on Sunday suggests.

  • Major Republican donors from Texas signed an open letter that appeared as a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday endorsing red flag laws, expanded background checks and a raised age limit to purchase guns, according to the Texas Tribune.

What they're saying: "I've never been part of negotiations as serious as these," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "There are more Republicans at the table talking about changing our gun laws and investing in mental health than at any time since Sandy Hook."

"Listen, we're not going to do everything I want. We are 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. 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."
— Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on CNN's "State of the Union"

"My hope is we'll get at least half of the Republican conference" to support gun legislation, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told Margaret Brennan on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday. 

  • "That should be the goal here. We're going to have to be realistic about what can do that. Sen. Murphy alluded to the idea it is not going to be everything, certainly, that the Democrats would like."

The other side: "We need to be focused more on stopping things before they happen," Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on "Fox News Sunday." "This isn't something that we're having a conversation about right now and it should be. It immediately becomes about Democrats wanting to take away guns."

Background: The bipartisan group is considering red flag laws, changes to the background check system, investments in mental health and funding for school security, Murphy said.

Go deeper