One week since this decade’s deadliest school shooting, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) confirmed he held talks with Republican and Democratic senators over the holiday weekend on a potential “framework” on gun restrictions. “Framework” is an important word here as legislators can often come to agreement on frameworks and then not be able to move forward once actual text comes around.
In the uphill battle against gun violence, even a “framework” would be monumental—but without 10 Republicans committed to it, it will remain just that.
While the Senate won’t be able to take up a bill until members return from the 10-day Memorial Day recess, leveraging the renewed momentum in the coming days will be critical. That’s because interest in a compromise can be expected to fade quickly in the current political environment.
In fact, post-Uvalde polling suggests half (49%) of Americans are not confident there will be any changes to gun laws this year.
In his address to the nation last week, Biden stopped short of backing specific gun control proposals and calling on Congress to vote immediately on legislation.
Democrats initially appeared reluctant to engage in another attempt to reach a compromise with Republicans given numerous failed attempts in the past. On Wednesday, however, Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) announced he would support bipartisan gun control talks led by Sen. Murphy over holding a quick vote on two gun control bills that passed the House in March 2021.
The decision reflects a Democratic caucus that would prefer even modest legislation over what he has called “accountability votes” in the past. Lawmakers are expected to focus on limited measures including red flag laws and/or strengthening background checks given the 50-50 split in the Senate. Democrats need 10 Republicans to support potential compromise legislation, and in the early stages of negotiations, eight Republicans have expressed some level of interest, with Cornyn leading the effort on the Republican side.