Cornyn says gun safety framework may have to be slimmed down


Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the lead Republican negotiator of a bipartisan gun safety framework, said Wednesday that some issues still need to be ironed out and warned the package may have to be slimmed down in order to get a bill passed.

Cornyn said he’s “starting to get a little concerned” about the impasse over “a couple of issues that need to be settled before we can reach an agreement.”  

“At some point, if we can’t get to 60 then we’re going to have to pare some of this,” he told reporters outside the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room Wednesday morning.  

“We’ve got to settle these issues or else we’re talking about jeopardizing the whole deal,” he added, calling the remaining work “a lift.”  

Cornyn says the negotiators will hold a “critical meeting” Wednesday afternoon in order to resolve their differences.  

He said one issue that has to be ironed out is whether to provide money to states that do not have red flag laws to take guns away from people deemed dangerous to the community but have other crisis intervention programs to prevent such people from possessing firearms.  

The second issue is how to define romantic or dating relationships that would be subject to language closing the so-called boyfriend loophole. Under the law as it now stands, current and former dating partners are not barred from owning a firearm if convicted of a domestic abuse misdemeanor.  

“We’ve got to get 60 votes for whatever it is we do, so that is always a factor. Obviously, my goal is to get much more than 60 votes, but we’re meeting this afternoon. I think it’s going to be a critical meeting to try to figure out exactly where we’re stuck and where we can unstick,” he said.  

He said the framework signed by 10 Republicans and unveiled on Sunday was “an agreed set of principles” but noted “coming up with text is harder.”  

“Sometimes when people use the same word they mean it differently or people hear it differently. So getting it in writing is critical,” he said.  

On the debate over restricting firearms for people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, Cornyn said Democrats “want to expand that definition and I’m begging them to come up with something that I can get my arms and head around.” 

“We need something very clear and so far we haven’t gotten it,” he said.  

Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.), the lead Democratic negotiator, said “I think we have more issues than that and they’re all overcome-able.”  

“There’s always going to be some polite disagreements over how that turns into text,” he said. 

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