Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, says the Democrats have nearly "run out of rope" in their gun-reform negotiations with Senate Republicans, due to time constraints and policy disagreements.
Cornyn's warning Thursday comes on the heels of Republicans and Democrats being embroiled in contentious talks at the Senate level, with the most prominent hangups apparently involving "red flag" gun laws and closing the so-called "boyfriend loophole," applying to gun restrictions for people currently involved with abusive spouses.
"The challenge, of course, as you know, is to translate those principles into text," Cornyn told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
"And of course, people like to come back and try to renegotiate things all the time. And I think we're about, we're about run out of our rope here, and we've got to make some final decisions today, if we're going to be able to get this on the floor next week."
Cornyn added, "The two issues are, really, what the Democrats like to call the 'boyfriend loophole,' which would cover nontraditional relationships, perhaps long-standing, you know, intimate or romantic relationships that would be subject to the bar of being able to purchase a firearm if you're convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.
"The second has to do with the distribution of the funds for crisis intervention. Of course, the whole red flag issue has gotten a lot of attention, but there's a lot of things being done in a number of other states, mental health courts, veterans courts, outpatient assistant treatment for people with mental health challenges to try to help them manage those."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. has tasked Cornyn with negotiating with Democrats on gun reform; and earlier in the week, it appeared Democrats and at least 10 Republicans had agreed to a framework deal — legislation that might have overcome the 60-vote requirement in the Senate, or filibuster, for bringing sweeping changes to existing laws.
According to various reports, the Democrats started losing their negotiating momentum with Republicans sometime Wednesday, after failing to resolve serious disputes over federal funding of state red flag programs, along with the layered plans for keeping guns out of the hands of those prone to domestic-violence situations.
According to early reports from Newsmax, the original framework of the gun reform package included six components:
- State crisis intervention orders
- School safety resources
- Mental health and suicide prevention programs
- Enhanced review process for gun buyers aged 20 and younger
- Penalties for straw purchasing
- Red flag provisions
Despite all the back-and-forth conjecture from the last 48 hours, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the Democrats' lead negotiator on gun reform, said lawmakers remain committed to converting their framework deal into a bill that can be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.
"I have confidence we'll get there," said Murphy.
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