Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, ‘more confident than ever’ Congress can reach deal on gun laws but anxious about failure
“I’ve never been part of negotiations as serious as these. There are more Republicans at the table talking about changing our gun laws, investing in mental health than at any time since Sandy Hook,” Murphy told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” referencing the mass shooting in 2012 at an elementary school in his home state. “I’ve also been part of many failed negotiations in the past, so I’m sober-minded about our chances.”
He later said, “I’m more confident than ever that we’re going to get there, but I’m also more anxious about failure this time around.”
Pressed by Tapper on whether raising the legal age to buy an assault weapon to 21 was on the table, Murphy said, “Right now, we’re trying to discover what can get to 60 votes.” (Senate rules require the votes of 60 senators to take up most legislation.)
“We are broadly trying to figure out what has 60 votes, but I think the template in Florida is the right one, which is, do some significant mental health investment, some school safety money and some modest but impactful changes in gun laws,” he said. “That’s the kind of package we’re putting together right now. That’s the kind of package I think can pass the Senate.”
Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, who is part of the bipartisan negotiations, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that expanded background checks were being considered in the current discussions.
“I certainly can’t guarantee any outcome, but it feels to me like we are closer than we’ve been since I’ve been in the Senate,” he said.
Murphy said Sunday he doesn’t know whether negotiators can reach a deal by the end of this week as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pushed for, but he said he was engaged in bipartisan talks as recently as late Saturday night.
But, he said, there was “agreement amongst the negotiators that we’re going to take some commonsense steps that do not compromise Second Amendment rights.” Murphy later added that he thinks what Cornyn has said publicly is “consistent” with his position in negotiations.
CNN’s Daniella Diaz and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.