GOP's Cornyn is tapped as Senate leader to discuss gun laws

In less than 48 hours, a gunman attacked an elementary school in Texas and killed 19 children and 2 teachers.

GOP's Cornyn is tapped as Senate leader to discuss gun laws

In less than 48 hours, a gunman attacked an elementary school in Texas and killed 19 children and 2 teachers. Senator John Cornyn then walked directly from the U.S. Senate floor into the office of Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell summoned the Texas Republican to lead the GOP's negotiations for a possible legislative response to the tragedy. He accepted the job, even though he was wary.

Cornyn stated that he was not interested in making political statements. Cornyn said that he was actually interested in how we could make Uvalde's terrible events less likely in the future.

Cornyn is the centre of a bipartisan group that includes senators who are working tirelessly to reach a compromise on gun safety legislation. This is despite the heartbreaking pleas of the Uvalde community to "do some thing" following the massacre.

Cornyn, a four-term senator, has been around many times before and is a key figure in the on again, off again discussions with Democrats about gun policy changes that almost never get passed into law. The powerful gun lobby and gun owners have a lot of influence on Congress, making it difficult for them to respond substantively even as horrific mass shootings continue across America.

Cornyn met with his former negotiating partner, Senator Chris Murphy-D.Conn. to convene a small group consisting of four senators. Some are part of a larger Murphy-led group, which is desperate for compromise gun safety measures.

President Joe Biden urged Congress, and especially the Republican senators who have spent many years blocking nearly every gun control measure, to take action.

Biden stated that "this time, it's the Senate's turn to do something", in remarks made from the White House.

Biden is also looking to Cornyn as a leader.

Biden stated earlier this week that he believes there is a realization among rational Republicans. He said that Senator McConnell was a rational Republican and that Cornyn is also.

There are little chances that even the simplest gun control measures will find support in Congress, especially in the 50-50 Senate. At least 60 votes are required to move legislation beyond a filibuster.

It is not expected that Senators will even consider a ban on assault weapons or other restrictions popular among the public to reduce the number of mass shootings.

Instead, the bipartisan group intensifies talks to reach an agreement on incremental changes to the nation’s gun laws. This is after a decade of mostly unsuccessful efforts since Sandy Hook Elementary School was attacked by a gunman who killed 20 children.

The senators might be able to reach consensus on a handful of areas, including school security and mental health. They may also be able to send money to states to support red flag laws that keep guns out of the hands if they are needed.

Matthew Bennett, a long-standing advocate for gun policy at the Third Way think tank's centrist Third Way, said that "that may be all they could do."

Since 1994, it has been almost 30 years since Congress passed comprehensive gun safety legislation. The 1994 assault weapons ban was an example of this. It is now expired. 2013 saw Congress reject proposals to increase background checks and ban assault-style rifles as well as high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Cornyn's fixNICS bill, a modest effort Murphy and he made to encourage states to adhere to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System recordkeeping requirements, was one of the few gun-related bills to become law in the ten years since Sandy Hook massacre.

Cornyn was the first to push the bill forward following another tragedy in his state: the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, Texas. The gunman's Air Force record for court-martial for domestic abuse had not been included in the federal database that is used for gun purchases.

The Fix-NICS bill was unable to pass the Senate. Months later, a gunman opened fire on a Parkland high school, killing 17 students in a mass shooting on Valentine's Day 2018.

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