Biden Hopes To Work With ‘Rational Republicans’ On Gun Control

President Joe Biden said in remarks on Monday that he feels he can reach a compromise on gun control with two “rational Republicans,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).

Biden told reporters that if he is to have a chance at passing compromise legislation on guns that enough Republicans will support to make it through the Senate, he will seek to work with the two veteran lawmakers to lead the way.

He also remarked there was only so much he could do on the issue through executive orders alone.

Biden talked about expanding background checks and limiting the availability of certain firearms, but added that such measures would need to be agreed upon during negotiations with Senate Republicans, and that he could not decide on legislation without the support of members from both parties.

The President said he was optimistic that he could convince some Republicans to work with him on gun control, noting that McConnell had asked Cornyn to seek a compromise way forward with the White House.

Speaking in the wake of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas in which 19 children and two teachers were killed, Biden warned that the only way to avoid future tragedies was for the government to put in place measures to toughen gun laws.

“I’ve been pretty motivated all along,” Biden said. “I’m going to continue to push and we’ll see how this goes.”

In Congress, a bipartisan group of senators talked over the weekend to see if they could reach even a modest compromise on gun legislation after a decade of mostly failed efforts.

That included encouraging state “red flag” laws to keep guns away from those with mental health problems.

“The Second Amendment was never absolute,” said Biden. “You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed. You couldn’t go out and buy a lot of weapons.”

There is nowhere near enough support from congressional Republicans for broader gun measures popular with the public, such as a new ban on assault-type weapons or universal background checks on buying guns.

But Democratic advocates hope meaningful measures could still pass.

Biden said he had taken some executive action on guns “but I can’t outlaw a weapon” and can’t “change the background checks”.

He said he did not know where congressional negotiations stood, but “there’s a realization on the part of rational Republicans” that ”we can’t keep repeating ourselves”.

 

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