Connecticut’s U.S. senators were optimistic Tuesday that bipartisan negotiations would result in the Senate passing “meaningful” changes to the nation’s gun laws in response to the mass shooting of children at a Texas elementary school last week.
During a morning press conference in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said last week’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas had left some Republicans in the Senate willing to negotiate on the topic of gun control.
“We have to accept that it is during these moments that the opportunity for change is most acute,” Murphy said.
Murphy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal declined to offer specifics about which lawmakers were included in the negotiations or which firearm policies were likely to be included in a finished product.
However, he said that policies including a red flag law, expanded background checks, gun storage requirements were all on the table as were boosting investments in mental health services and school security. A renewed assault weapons ban would not be among the policies up for negotiation, he said.
“We’re looking to do a comprehensive package that breaks the logjam,” Murphy said, “that doesn’t do everything that I would like but does enough that saves lives and convinces our Republican colleagues, who as you’ve heard have been unwilling to support these common sense measures in the past, that the sky will not fall politically for them.”
Blumenthal said the list of provisions remained in flux because Democrats involved in the talks were “genuinely” listening to Republican ideas for reducing gun violence.
“There’s nothing that is concrete in terms of the topics that we would cover. There are others that potentially are open to discussion,” Blumenthal said.
Although it remains to be seen whether the talks will result in a bill palatable to senators on both sides of the aisle, Murphy and Blumenthal said the chamber would vote on more stringent gun policies one way or the other.
“I have had the football pulled out from under me enough times before in these negotiations to be realistic about our prospects for success,” Murphy said. “But we are going to work every single moment of every single day over the course of this week and next week to try to get enough of our republican colleagues to ‘yes.’ I hope they are moved by what they have witnessed in the way to the rest of this country has been moved.”
Asked about the talks at an unrelated event Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont said he believed Congress would “get something done” on the issue.
“From my point of view, as a state, if the federal government could do two-thirds of what the state of Connecticut is doing we’d be much safer, Texas would be much safer, Florida would be much safer, Connecticut would be much safer,” Lamont said.