WASHINGTON ― Bipartisan gun talks within the Senate have targeted on pretty slender measures: funding for psychological well being, enhanced background checks, “red flag” legal guidelines and college safety.
The talks began within the wake of two mass shootings during which the accused gunmen are 18-year-olds who legally bought their assault rifles. But elevating the minimal age required to purchase an AR-15-style weapon looks like a protracted shot due to Republican opposition.
“Two circuit courts have held that unconstitutional,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) instructed HuffPost. “I don’t know what the Supreme Court would do. But I think we’re more interested in trying to target people with mental health and criminal backgrounds. “
Just three years ago, Congress raised the age limit for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, and doing the same for guns has emerged as one obvious response to the back-to-back high-profile mass shootings by teenagers.
Payton Gendron, 18, has been charged in the deaths of 10 people at a market in Buffalo, New York, on May 14. Salvador Ramos, also 18, is accused of killing 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.
Actor Matthew McConaughey, a Uvalde native who recently flirted with running for Texas governor, this week endorsed the idea before meeting with senators on Capitol Hill.
Federal law restricts handgun sales by licensed dealers to buyers 21 and up while allowing 18-year-olds to buy shotguns and rifles. But Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn), who has led the negotiations for Democrats, acknowledged that raising the gun-buying age would be difficult.
“We’re doing the hard work of exploring what can get us 60-plus votes,” Murphy instructed HuffPost, referring to the extent of assist wanted to beat a Republican filibuster. “Obviously, I support raising the age. I’m just not sure that that ultimately gets us the number we need to get to.”
The members of the bipartisan group are hoping to craft a deal they’ll current to their events by the top of the week, although that timeline might slip.
Cornyn, the lead GOP negotiator, up to date his colleagues on the standing of the talks at a non-public caucus lunch on Tuesday. Although elevating the age required to purchase an assault rifle was among the many concepts on the checklist he offered, Cornyn didn’t state his desire for one thought over one other, in line with a number of attendees.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) additionally declined to state a position on the age restrict when requested by a reporter following the lunch on Tuesday.
“We are waiting to see if we can get an outcome that directly relates to the problem that brought this issue to the floor one more time,” McConnell mentioned. “I personally would prefer to get an outcome, and we hope that we will have one soon.”
Republicans are for probably the most half standing again on the subject of supporting something in a doable bipartisan gun reform package deal.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) mentioned he may be open to elevating the shopping for age however was involved about authorized challenges just like the one to Florida’s regulation requiring gun patrons to be 21.
“I’m not an outright ‘no,’ but I need to learn more about whether it’s going to get struck down in court,” Rubio mentioned.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) mentioned he’s “not convinced proposals like that are actually going to reduce violence” when requested a few larger gun-buying age.
“I’m looking for ways here to keep our kids safe in school. So I think protecting our schools is the direction where I head. Some of these increased gun control provisions I don’t see are going to make our schools safer,” he added.
Asked a few ready interval for gun purchases by individuals below 21, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) pivoted to a completely unrelated subject.
“I think what we ought to do is enforce the laws we already have, by the way, in a justice system that applies the law equally,” Johnson mentioned. “Before we pass anything new, let’s enforce the laws we already have. Let’s start with Hunter Biden.”
Some GOP moderates, akin to Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, left the door open to supporting such a proposal. At least seven extra Republicans would want to affix them to make it a actuality.
In an emotional speech on the White House on Tuesday, McConaughey referred to as for brand spanking new rules as a part of what he referred to as a “gun responsibility” platform that he outlined earlier this week.
“We want secure and safe schools, and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns,” McConaughey, who’s a gun proprietor, mentioned after recalling heart-wrenching conversations he’s had with the victims’ households in Uvalde.