Sen. John Cornyn said Monday he’s “optimistic” there will be “60 plus” votes on gun control legislation a bipartisan group of senators has been negotiating. That would be enough to overcome a filibuster and send a bill to the floor.
The Texas Republican is part of the group trying to craft a measure in the wake of deadly shootings last month in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
President Joe Biden last week called on the Senate to move forward, saying “this time, we have to take the time to do something.”
Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats have called for bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as red-flag and safe storage laws and strengthening background checks. At the very least, Mr. Biden has called for the minimum age to buy an assault weapon to be raised to 21 from 18.
Democratic negotiators said a deal could be completed this week around a proposal that includes enhanced background checks, new incentives for states to pass red flag laws and investments in schools and mental health.
Cornyn said Monday he thought that raising the age requirement had been taken off the table by lead Democratic negotiator Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
“We have to be realistic about what can pass both chambers of Congress and get the president’s signature,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor on Monday. ” And we know it’s not easy … I want to be clear, we’re not talking about restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners or citizens.”
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday that expanding background checks is “on the table.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that Mr. Biden is “encouraged” by the discussions going on in the Senate.
A CBS News poll released Sunday shows 81% of Americans supporting background checks on all potential gun buyers, while 72% favor a federal red flag law and 62% a nationwide ban on assault weapons.
The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee last week advanced a package of bills called the “Protecting Our Kids Act” that would harden the nation’s gun laws.