Group of GOP senators signals openness to compromise on gun legislation

In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting in which 19 students and two teachers perished, leaders in Congress are facing renewed calls for legislation designed to curb such tragedies, and as The Hill reports, a small, bipartisan cadre of senators has convened to attempt a gun control compromise, in a move certain to frustrate many conservatives.

The outlet noted that on Thursday afternoon, a group consisting of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle met at the Capitol for a meeting headed by Sen. Chris Coons (D-CT) described as “organizational” in nature.

According to Coons, those joining him in the effort thus far are Democrat Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) as well as Republicans Lindsey Graham (SC), Susan Collins (ME), Pat Toomey (PA), and Bill Cassidy (LA).

Though gun control advocates on the far left have demanded sweeping measures to curtain the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, lawmakers who took part in the preliminary discussion indicated that at this point, negotiations are focused around expanded background checks and so-called red flag laws meant to stop dangerous individuals from possessing firearms.

Perhaps bolstering the likelihood that some sort of agreement may be reached, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday tapped Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn to engage in conversations with Democrats regarding possible measures to curtail gun violence, as The Hill reported separately, though he did so with the caveat that discussions should not venture beyond legislation not specifically focused on the violence that transpired in Uvalde.

“I’ve encouraged [Cornyn] to talk to Sen. Sinema, Sen. Murphy and others who are interested in trying to get an outcome that’s directly related to the problem. And so I am hopeful that we could come up with a bipartisan solution that’s directly related to the facts of this awful massacre,” McConnell said.

Though Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has made it clear that he blames Republicans for blocking the sort of far-reaching gun control measures he favors, he has, according to Politico, decided to give the bipartisan talks a chance to progress, rather than immediately forcing votes on bills for which a failed outcome is a foregone conclusion.

Schumer made his decision known to Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) earlier this week, who subsequently explained, “It’s the only approach that will result in law. I talked to [Schumer] this morning. He said if there’s even the possibility of getting bipartisanship we’ll try to find it.”

McConnell’s willingness to engage with Democrats, however, is not likely to be universally endorsed within the GOP, however, with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) encapsulating the feelings of many by saying, “I have interest in grappling with what can be done. I really don’t think the answer is gun control. This happens in states with very, very severe gun control laws, and it happens in states that have fewer restrictions. This is a societal problem.”