More Republican senators are open to red-flag gun laws after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas that left 21 dead, including 19 children, but the path to passage is unclear, reports Fox News.
Red-flag legislation, which would allow law enforcement officials to confiscate firearms from individuals a court deems to be dangerous, already exists as law in at least 19 states.
GOP senators who have signaled being open to the idea include Susan Collins of Maine, whose state has a red-flag law, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Rick Scott of Florida.
“I believe that we should look at enacting a red-flag law based on the one we have in Maine, which has due process rights and involves a medical professional in the decision,” Collins said Tuesday. “I don't know the details of the shooter, but it's hard to believe he wasn't mentally ill.”
Lawmakers in both parties have started talks on gun legislation.
In an announcement Wednesday afternoon, House Democrats indicated they'll bring up a vote on red-flag legislation early next month.
The proposal coming up in June is sponsored by Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., The Hill reported. It would nationalize several laws empowering courts to issue protective orders keeping people from possessing or acquiring guns if a judge finds them a threat to others or even themselves.
Democrats are onboard.
“If we can’t get 70 or 75 senators to vote for common-sense protection of your children or grandchildren, what in the world are we here for? What’s your purpose for being in the United States Senate if it’s not at least to protect the children?” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Wednesday.
“[My colleagues and I] talked about the red flag. It’s worked. It’s works in states such as Florida. It’s been very effective,” he said.
Florida has used its red-flag law over 5,800 times since passing it in 2018.
A national red-flag law has been discussed before.
In 2019, Republican lawmakers appeared ready to support such a measure after a weekend that left 31 people dead in two mass shootings.
“I will support legislation that prevents the sale of military-style weapons to civilians, a magazine limit and red-flag legislation. The carnage these military-style weapons are able to produce when available to the wrong people is intolerable,” Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, said at the time.
But a measure by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., did not attract the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.
Democrats remain pessimistic about getting 10 Republicans onboard to end the filibuster this time, too.
"Several different times we've had conversations among members and at markups about the desirability and the relevance of having" red-flag laws, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told Axios.
"That should be enactable, but in the several years since, despite repeated efforts ... we haven't been able to get to 10 on that."
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