Senate’s latest attempt at a gun control deal falls apart

By | June 9, 2021

The Senate’s latest bipartisan attempt to shape a gun control bill came to an end Wednesday as the Democrat and Republican leading the push for a compromise abandoned their effort.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who had spearheaded Democrats’ efforts to find a path forward for gun control, said Wednesday in a statement his discussions with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) had run their course.

“We haven’t been able to get to a bill that would meaningfully increase the number of gun sales that require background checks,” Murphy said in a statement.

But the Connecticut Democrat was hopeful for future compromise.

“The good news is that I’m still talking with other Republican colleagues about different proposals to expand background checks, and I’m committed to getting something done,” he said.

Murphy and Cornyn had engaged in long-shot discussions over narrower proposals to strengthen background check systems for gun buyers. Two House-passed bills to greatly expand background checks have all but stalled out in the Senate. Despite overwhelming public support for background check proposals, the still-intact legislative filibuster requires Republican support to advance any gun control bill.

Cornyn told CNN it was Murphy who had ended the talks. “Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to find an agreed upon outcome, so basically, he suggested to me that there wasn’t any real reason to continue talking right now,” he said.

Absent any compromise, the current gun control proposals are likely headed for a Republican filibuster, despite Murphy’s best efforts to stave one off. He’d worked the phones over a spring recess, calling what he estimated at the time was half of the 50-member GOP conference.

Murphy’s announcement is in line with a self-imposed deadline he floated for a deal. He told POLITICO in an interview in late April he was aiming for a compromise bill by the end of spring or early summer.

But if that wasn’t achievable, “at some point you will have to call [Republicans’] bluff,” he said at the time.