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Republicans, Democrats Spar Over Gun Regulation After Texas School Shooting

Marco Bello | Reuters
  • Republicans and Democrats have continued to spar over gun control efforts in the wake of the Texas elementary school shooting that left 21 people dead, with each side advocating for vastly different solutions.
  • For Republicans, the answer lies in more security in schools and increased access to mental health care. Democrats, meanwhile, argue that the ease of access to military-grade weapons is the issue.
  • "It's inconceivable to me that we have not passed significant federal legislation trying to address the tragedy of gun violence in this nation," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Republicans and Democrats have continued to spar over gun control in the wake of the Texas elementary school shooting that left 21 people dead, with each side advocating for vastly different solutions.

For Republicans, the answer lies in more security in schools and increased access to mental health care. Democrats, meanwhile, argue that the ease of access to military-grade weapons is the real problem. As with other school shootings, few expect the gridlocked lawmakers to accomplish much.

"It's inconceivable to me that we have not passed significant federal legislation trying to address the tragedy of gun violence in this nation," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Still, a handful of congressional officials told reporters Sunday that they expect this time to be different.

Murphy said there are "serious" bipartisan negotiations on a new gun law meant to curb future shootings.

Negotiations with the Republican senators have included so-called red flag laws, which allow authorities to confiscate guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others, expanding a federal background check system, safe storage requirements, mental health resources and increased security funding for schools, he said.

"Every single time, after one of these mass shootings, there's talks in Washington and they never succeed," Murphy added on "This Week." "But there are more Republicans interested in talking about finding a path forward this time than I have ever seen since Sandy Hook." In 2012, a 20-year-old gunman shot and killed 26 people, mostly 6- and 7-year-old children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sen. Dick Durban, D-Ill., echoed Murphy's sentiments. "I sense a different feeling among my colleagues after Uvalde," he said on CNN's "State of the Union." "America is sick and tired of the political excuses."

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told CNN that he would be open to a ban or more regulation on owning assualt weapons. Kinzinger, who has in recent years started to advocate for gun control, said on ABC that raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 is a "no brainer."

Kinzinger, one of the 10 Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, said last October he wouldn't run for reelection after several members of his party essentially labeled him an outcast.

Democrats will need 10 Republicans to vote on their side to advance the measures. Other Republicans who could be in favor of some restrictions include Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is retiring at the end of the current Congress.

To be sure, there is still a faction of Republicans who say that the Democrats' solutions will impose on Second Amendment rights. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., on Sunday told CNN that he is against red flag laws, universal background checks and raising the minimum age to buy the weapons. Instead, Crenshaw pushed for increased security in schools.

Other Republicans opposed to restrictions or leaning against them include Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.

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