(NEW YORK) — Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday to personally update him on ongoing gun negotiations in the Senate as lawmakers try to reach a deal this week, which he outlined to ABC’s The View beforehand.
Murphy said negotiators hope to announce a framework by the end of the week, allowing a package to advance for votes thereafter, adding that the pressure on lawmakers, this time, feels unprecedented with constituents reaching out to offices “at a rate that I’ve never seen before.”
Murphy told the co-hosts ofThe View that he and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the lead Republican on negotiations, were part of talks Monday “that went into the wee hours of last night” and that an increasing number of Republicans are supporting the efforts.
“While we are very different in our views, we do both agree that we are not willing to do anything that compromises people’s Second Amendment rights. We are focusing on keeping weapons out of the hands of dangerous people,” Murphy said. “We can’t find agreement right now on an issue like an outright ban on assault weapons, but we can find an agreement that saves lives around making sure that only law-abiding citizens get access to really powerful firearms.”
In a prime-time address last week, Biden called for an assault weapons ban, and if not, he said, then to raise the age to buy assault weapons from 18 to 21. Instead, lawmakers are considering measures like expanded background checks, incentives for states and localities to institute red flag laws, and increased funding for school security and mental health programs.
“I’ve failed so many times before in these talks that I’m sober-minded about our chances, but you normally as time goes on after one of these cataclysmic mass shootings the momentum fades. The opposite seems to be happening this time,” Murphy added. “There are more Republicans every single day, who want to help us get to a product.”
Murphy said most Republicans realize there’s a “public urgency” to act.
“But I also think Republicans understand that this is good politics — that it’s going to be really hard to go back to their constituencies and say that they rejected a pretty reasonable offer to tighten up our nation’s firearms laws that are completely compliant with the Second Amendment,” he added.
However, without the support of 10 Senate Republicans to gain the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster, Congress could soon enter its third decade without having passed major gun safety reforms.
Pressed on the prospect of an assault weapons ban or raising the age to buy assault weapons, Murphy said, “I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
“Right now, we don’t have 10 Republican votes to ban these AR-15 assault-style weapons,” Murphy said. “Of course, I support banning assault weapons. I support universal background checks, but I don’t think that we can stand by and let our politics stop us from finding a compromise.”
“It won’t be everything I want. But I think it’ll give parents and kids in this country, a sense that we are taking seriously this epidemic and that we’re willing to make progress,” he added.
Throughout negotiations, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been on the defensive on Biden’s involvement as some have questioned whether the president should be taking a larger role in talks. She has argued Biden has been involved for decades and is giving senators “a little space” to work. Murphy has spoken with the White House every single day since the negotiations began, she said, but that can be on the staff level, not directly with Biden.
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