GOP and Senate negotiators were at odds over details of the arms deal

WASHINGTON – Democratic and Republican senators were at odds on Thursday about how to keep firearms away from dangerous people as negotiators struggled to finalize details a gun violence compromise in time for their self-imposed deadline for holding votes in Congress next week.

Lawmakers said they remain at odds over how to define abusive dating partners so they could be legally barred from buying firearms. Disagreements were also unresolved over proposals to send money to states that have “red flag” laws that allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from people judged by courts to be dangerous, and to other states for theirs own violence prevention programs.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a top GOP negotiator, appeared visibly unhappy as he left Thursday’s closed-door session after nearly two hours, saying he was flying home. That election year negotiations were sparked by last month’s mass shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which killed a total of 31 people.


“That’s the hardest part because at some point you just have to make a decision. And if people don’t want to make a decision, you can’t achieve the result. And that’s where we are right now,” Cornyn said.

“I’m not frustrated, I’m done,” he added, although he said he was open to further discussion.

Lawmakers have said if Congress is to vote on the bill by next week, after which a recess will begin on July 4, an agreement must be in place and written in legislative language by the end of this week. Leaders want votes by then because Washington has long talked about responding to mass shootings, only to see lawmakers and voters quickly lose interest over time.

Other negotiators appeared more optimistic, saying much of the overall package was agreed and advisers were drafting the legislative language.

“A deal like this is difficult,” Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a leading Democratic negotiator, said as the meeting later ended. “It involves a lot of emotions, it involves political risks for both sides. But we are, we’re close enough that we should get there.”


The measure would impose only minor restrictions on firearms. Proposals by President Joe Biden and the Democrats to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in Buffalo and Uvalde or to raise the legal age to purchase assault rifles from 18 to 21 are missing.

Still, it would be the most decisive move by Congress against gun violence since 1993. A ban on assault weapons enacted that year went into effect in 1994 and expired after a decade. Since then, numerous high-profile mass shootings out of Washington have produced only a partisan deadlock, largely because Republicans have blocked virtually all new restrictions.

Twenty senators, ten from each party, agreed on the outlines of a compromise measure last weekend. Top Traders – Murphy, Cornyn and Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, RN.C. — have since been working on translating it into details.


Its framework would also include access to the juvenile files of gun buyers aged 18 to 20. Both Buffalo and Uvalde shooters were 18 years old, and both used AR-15-style automatic rifles that can load high-capacity magazines.

The plan would also include additional spending on mental health and school safety programs, tougher penalties for gun trafficking and a requirement for more gun dealers to obtain state gun licenses.

The agreement was endorsed by Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. GOP and Senate negotiators were at odds over details of the arms deal

Sarah Y. Kim

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