Texas school shooting: Senate Democrats say 6-12 GOPers engaged in gun talks, predict tough votes if they walk away

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Two of the top Senate Democrats leading gun control legislation in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting said Thursday there may be enough Republican support for the some kind of measure is adopted.

The senses. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., made the comments after a rally with gun control supporters outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. It comes as several prominent Senate Republicans indicate they may support some sort of legislation after 21 people were killed in the attack on Robb Elementary School this week.

“There are at least six to 12 that have gone beyond general expressions of interest to look at drafts and language of the law that could be passed,” Blumenthal said. “I will let them announce when they are ready who they are. But next week will be a testing period as we will see who exactly is ready to put signatures on paper.”

A man lights a candle outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
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A man lights a candle outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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Murphy, who is considered the leader of the negotiations on the Democratic side, said there will be bipartisan meetings on the issue on Thursday and talks will continue through the Memorial Day recess in the Senate.

But, he said, Republicans will have a limited time to agree to something, or Democrats will start forcing hard votes in the Senate.

“We need at least a week to work through these difficult issues. Frankly, sometimes it’s easier to work through these issues outside of Washington than when we’re here,” Murphy told reporters. “We love you guys, but sometimes it’s a little easier to negotiate with each other than to negotiate through the Washington, DC press.”

Senator Chris Murphy spoke from the Senate after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Senator Chris Murphy spoke from the Senate after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
(Senate Pool Video)

“We’ll have a series of meetings today to set the table for next week, and then we’ll work very hard to try to find a bipartisan product,” Murphy added. “But listen, I’m not going to negotiate forever… So if we can’t make progress by the end of next week, then I’ll say to Senator Schumer, it’s time to vote.”

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In remarks to supporters of Moms Demand Action and Everytown at the rally outside the Senate, Murphy also pointed out that Democrats will make Republicans vote hard if they don’t play ball on gun reform.

“We’re going to force people to tell America which side they’re on,” Murphy said.

Blumenthal and Murphy were joined Thursday by other lawmakers, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Alex Padilla, D-Calif.

Senator Ed Markey speaks during a gun control rally outside the Captiol on May 26, 2022.

Senator Ed Markey speaks during a gun control rally outside the Captiol on May 26, 2022.
(Tyler Olson/Fox News)

A rowdy crowd within a few hundred yards of senators chanted “now” and “action,” demanding that the Senate — and Republicans in particular — pass some form of gun legislation.

“How is that acceptable? Padilla spoke about school shootings like the one in Uvalde, Texas, in a comment directed at Republicans. “How are you not outraged?”

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Markey, meanwhile, called for the Supreme Court to be shut down so justices cannot strike down gun laws passed by Democrats, and he told activists not to let the momentum on the gun issue die out.

“This time it’s different,” he said. “If you don’t change your mind, the American people will change, you are their representative.”

But the task of getting anything through the Senate — in an election year, when politics is more polarized than ever — especially on guns, is dauntingly onerous.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., forced a procedural vote Thursday on a bill targeting white supremacist terrorism. The legislation was initially aimed at addressing the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month. But Schumer said he would use this bill, if it removed a 60-vote procedural hurdle to start debate, as a vehicle for gun-related amendments as well.

But the vote fell through 47-47 on Thursday, with all Republicans opposing it. Schumer changed his vote to be against the bill in order to possibly bring it back to the prosecution later.

There is some optimism from a few top Republicans that something could be done on gun control this year.

“It’s a new development. Buffalo is a new development,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday. “I think there’s a sense of urgency that maybe we didn’t feel before, but we’re going to try. I mean, that’s all we can do is try and that’s what we are, what I’m going to do.”

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Senate Republican Policy Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., also said Wednesday that he may support red flag legislation.

But many other Republicans appear resistant to any gun legislation. When asked Wednesday if there were any new gun or gun ownership regulations she might support, Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said “No.”

Fox News’ Thomas Phippen and Jason Donner contributed to this report.

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