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Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Sunday's "Meet the Press" they believe that Congress will finally be able to pass legislation on expanded gun background checks.

Why it matters: Recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado have brought a renewed focus on the problem of gun violence in America. Last week President Biden called on Congress to take action on gun control.

  • Murphy said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has tapped has tapped him to lead Senate Democrats' current efforts to find a bipartisan agreement on expanding background checks.
  • Murphy said his aim was to find a compromise that could get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate.

What they're saying: Murphy noted that the political landscape has "shifted dramatically" in the last few years. Although he said he welcomes a broader conversation about gun control measures, he said that background checks are the starting point.

  • "I think right now our best chance to get something passed is universal background checks."
  • "Once we convince Republicans that the sky doesn’t fall for you politically when you support a reasonable expansion of something like background checks, you can move onto other interventions."
  • "I've gotten a lot of calls from Republicans in the Senate who don't want to fight this fight any longer, because the NRA's authority is fading, the anti-gun violence movement's impact is increasing."

Toomey argued that the issue behind gun violence is not necessarily the amount of guns in circulation, but a question of who has those guns.

  • "My focus has always been: Make it more difficult for people that we all agree should not have firearms, make it more difficult for them to get firearms. That is violent criminals, the dangerously mentally ill.”
  • "Whether a law-abiding citizen owns three guns or four, that has absolutely no impact on anybody's safety."
  • Toomey was the lead Republican sponsor of an expanded background check bill in 2013 that failed to meet the 60 vote threshold needed to pass.
  • The Republican senator says bipartisan agreement could be found around commercial background checks but threw cold water on the idea that the recent House-passed gun bill would be able to even find "50 votes" in the Senate.

Go deeper

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change. It weakened slightly, to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 storm, on Sunday.

4 hours ago - World

Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentioning Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday. Police responded to the shooting at around 12:42 a.m. and the suspect has not been found.

The big picture: The midnight shooting is the latest in a string of deadly mass shootings to hit the U.S. since March, fueling a debate in Washington about how to regulate the weapons.