With back-to-back mass shootings putting gun control at the forefront, Senate Democrats say they're willing to negotiate a more modest deal with Republicans than originally anticipated, The Hill reports.
On Thursday (May 26), a bipartisan group of nine senators met to discuss gun control legislation in response to shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.
Reports say lawmakers across party lines are prioritizing the expansion of background checks and legislation that encourages states to set up red flag laws that would stop persons at risk of putting themselves or others in danger from owning guns.
However, the two parties must reach some sort of an agreement on gun control as Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome a filibuster, The Hill reports. For bipartisan negotiations to be successful, Democrats say they've accepted that their proposals to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons will most likely not make the cut.
Democratic Senator Ben Cardin said, “I know the dynamics here. The assault weapons [ban] is not going to be in that package."
Following the Uvalde school massacre, Senator Chris Murphy, one of the lead Democratic negotiators on gun control, said he was intent on reaching a deal with Republicans, so yet another piece of legislation wouldn't fail along party lines.
“This is all about what can get 60 votes,” Murphy said. “Let’s see what public demand for action arises in the next few weeks, but we need to work with Republicans.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said on Thursday that any proposal reached with Democrats would need to be narrowly tailored in response to the Texas shooting that left 21 students and teachers dead.
“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.
Senator Cory Booker and other democratic lawmakers remain skeptical that any gun control proposals can be reached in lockstep with Republicans.
“I’m not going to engage in this fiction that somehow we’re going to have enough votes to pass. We know the outcome already. This is hopefully to put more people on notice in America about who stands for commonsense, bipartisan gun reform and who doesn’t,” Booker said in a statement. “My hope has had its a** kicked, OK?”
According to The Hill, it appears red flag laws have the best chance of winning 60 votes on the Senate floor. Even discussions about raising the minimum age to buy assault weapons, like the ones used in Buffalo and Uvalde, face Republican opposition.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D) acknowledged that reaching a deal with Republicans would not be without complications.
“Neither he [Murphy] nor I have illusions that this is easy. But his view, my view, and the overwhelming view of our caucus is that we need to give it a short amount of time to try,” Schumer said.