John Cornyn of Texas promised crowd no new restrictions
Senator John Cornyn of Texas was booed at a GOP convention in his home state on Friday, apparently over the senator’s work on a bipartisan gun deal in the works in Congress.
While victims of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma have called on leaders to do more about gun violence, the crowd at the 2022 Texas State Republican Convention seemed upset for the opposite reason.
Delegates could be heard chanting “no red flags!” and “don’t take our guns!” as the senator spoke.
Leaders in both houses of Congress have endorsed a modest package of gun reforms, and Mr Cornyn promised the crowd things wouldn’t go any further.
“I will not, under any circumstances, support new restrictions for law abiding gun owners,” he said. “That will always be my red line. And despite what some of you may have heard, the framework that we are working on is consistent with that red line.”
“We fought and kept President Biden’s gun-grabbing wish list off the table,” he added.” Democrats push for an assault weapons ban. I said ‘no.’ They tried to get a new three week mandatory wait period for all gun purchases. I said ‘no.’ Universal background checks, magazine bans, licensing requirements. The list goes on and on and on. And I said ‘no, no, 1000 times no.’”
A reporter for the Houston Chronicle captured the footage at the GOP convention on Friday:
Though an agreement exists in principle and has received significant sign-on from both the White House and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, congressional leaders still have not hammered out a workable gun compromise ahead of their self-imposed deadline of a vote by next week.
A potential gun package could involve funding mental health treatment, enhancing school security, and incentivising “red flag” laws in the states, but the Senate is still in disagreement over the exact particulars.
Sticking points include how to define abusive dating partners who would be barred from buying guns, and whether states should get extra funding for red flag programmes.
“A deal like this is difficult,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said at the close of the group’s last meeting, on Thursday. “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.”
Congress is heading towards its 4 July recess, and some worry that if there’s no gun vote by then, political momentum will die down, and the legislature will once again avoid making any changes to gun safety in the US despite an onslaught of tragedies.
Even if a deal is reached, it will fall far from what president Biden has said is necessary to stop the violence, including a reinstated assault weapons ban, a high-capacity magazine ban, and raising the age for purchasing assault rifles.
That final point, in particular, has been a key demand of some families of victims in Uvalde.
“Assault rifles shouldn’t be sold at all, period,” according to Jessie Rodriguez, 53, whose 10-year-old daughter Annabell was killed in the shooting.
“We understand having an assault rifle for the military; not personal use. Not to gun down our children … all the children gunned down like they were animals,” he told The Independent.