Bipartisan talks on federal gun control have hit a snag over “red flag” laws and the “boyfriend loophole,” prompting frustration.
Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, is the lead Republican negotiator in the U.S. Senate. Cornyn expressed frustration as he left Thursday’s closed-door session negotiating changes to gun laws. He told a reporter he was beyond frustration, saying he was done with negotiations for now and was flying home.
“This is the hardest part because at some point, you just got to make a decision,” the Texas Republican said. “And when people don’t want to make a decision, you can’t accomplish the result. And that’s kind of where we are right now.”
The dour picture painted by the top Republican involved in gun control talks puts a vote Democrats hoped to have next week in jeopardy. Yet, the senior Democrat involved in the talks is still optimistic they could vote on gun control legislation next week before the Senate breaks for a two-week recess for the July 4 holiday.
“To land a deal like this is difficult,” said Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn. “It comes with a lot of emotions. It comes with political risk to both sides.”
“But we’re close enough that we should be able to get there.”
Lawmakers remain divided over how to define abusive dating partners. Currently, only domestic abusers who are married, living with a partner or parenting a child together are subject to laws barring them from buying firearms. Democrats have long tried to expand the provision to include abusers in dating relationships but have failed to convince enough colleagues to pass the change.
Arguably, the biggest hurdle is balancing due process concerns of Republicans with calls from Democrat to allow authorities to confiscate weapons from people who have a complaint filed against them, calling them a danger to themselves or others.
The talks seemed headed for agreement because both parties worry about voter backlash if Congress does not respond to the deaths from last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas.
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