Sen. John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator on the bipartisan gun safety package, told a home-state crowd at the Texas GOP convention on Friday that he had “fought and kept President Biden’s gun grabbing wish list off the table,” yet still received boos from the crowd as he talked about what the bill could include.
“Democrats pushed for an assault weapons ban, I said no,” Cornyn said. “They tried to get a new three-week mandatory waiting 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, 1,000 times no.”
Cornyn left Washington on Thursday without reaching a deal to convert an agreement reached over the weekend into actual legislative text. Lawmakers from both parties have faced pressure to act on gun safety legislation in the wake of more mass shootings, but it’s unclear if any package could overcome a filibuster in the Senate.
“So you might ask what is on the table?” Cornyn told the crowd Friday. “More mental health resources more support for our schools and making sure that violent criminals and the mentally ill cannot buy a firearm,” he said, as boos continued. “That primarily means enforcing current law. That’s what I’ve heard from many of you here today and this week, and that’s what we’re working on, nothing more, and nothing less.”
He also said, “I will not, under any circumstance, support new restrictions for law-abiding gun owners. 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.”
Cornyn concluded this section of his speech by telling the crowd to go to his website to see his real positions, “rather than rumor and the Twitterverse.”
“Now President Biden isn’t happy that our list does not include his sprawling wish list, which tells me we must be doing something right,” he said.
Cornyn told reporters earlier this week that the two major sticking points in the framework are the so-called boyfriend loophole, which deals with whether unmarried partners could have guns if they were found guilty of violence against a dating partner, and the distribution of funds for alternative crisis intervention programs, with Democrats wanting to use those funds to incentivize states to pass red flag laws. Cornyn also warned that if negotiations drag on, then the discussion may collapse without passing anything.
“Indecision and delay jeopardize the likelihood of a bill because you can’t write what is undecided and without a bill there is nothing to vote on,” Cornyn tweeted Thursday.