Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut sees the opportunity for Congress to pass "something significant" on gun safety for the first time in decades, he said onSunday.
Murphy, who is leadingon a gun safety measure now, told moderator Margaret Brennan that he's seen more Republicans "coming to the table and talking this time" than at any time since the nation's worst school shooting at Sandy Hook a decade ago. At the time, Murphy was the congressman who represented Newtown, Connecticut, where Sandy Hook is located. Four months after that massacre, the Senate brought a compromise gun safety measure that would have expanded background checks, but it failed to pass.
There is a sense of urgency and focus in the discussions now, in the wake of the mass school shooting in Uvalde this week. "I think right now, parents in this country and kids are desperate for us to do something," Murphy told Brennan. "They're frightened, they're anxious, and we will just add to their anxiety if nothing happens again."
"I think we can get something done, but we don't have a lot of time," the Connecticut senator said. Late last week, Murphy said that he and the bipartisan group of senators who have been working on the package would continue talking during the congressional break this week.
As he sees it, the key is compromise.
"Republicans are not willing to support everything that I support, like banning assault weapons, but I really think that we could pass something that saves lives and breaks this logjam that we've had for 30 years," Murphy said, "proving to Republicans that if you vote to tighten the nation's gun laws, the sky doesn't fall for you politically."
The measures under discussion by a bipartisan group of senators are red-flag laws, an expansion of background checks and perhaps safe storage of guns.
Murphy said that the goal is to produce a compromise "in which we both tighten the nation's gun laws to make sure that only law abiding citizens get their hands on these very powerful weapons, invest in schools security and mental health." Compromise on what he called an "all-of-the-above strategy" is "ultimately the path to 60 votes," the number of votes needed to clear the Senate.
He said he's willing to "vote for some things that harden our schools that make me a little uncomfortable, frankly, if Republican are willing to vote to tighten up the nation's firearms laws in a way that they have been unwilling to do previously," Murphy said. "That's the nature of a compromise."
He conceded that there are some things that are not likely to get into the bill, for instance, a ban on high-capacity magazines.
"I think it's unlikely that we're gonna be able to get 60 votes for that right now," he told Brennan. "That's a question that will probably have to be left up to the voters."
He added that "it's in the category of things I think would save lives — I've always said that. I'm not sure that that shooter would have even walked into the school and Sandy Hook if he didn't have an assault rifle and those high-capacity magazines, but I'm not sure that we have the votes right now for that."
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