The lead Republican negotiator in bipartisan gun-control talks told a skeptical crowd in Texas that the framework for a potential deal was pro-Second Amendment, as negotiators headed into the weekend still hung up on a provision denying guns to people who abuse their dating partners.
Speaking over loud boos from the audience, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) ticked off gun proposals he had ruled out in the talks, such as bans on certain guns or high-capacity magazines. He recounted that he told negotiators that the goal was to better enforce existing law and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
“I will not under any circumstance support new restrictions for law-abiding gun owners,” he told state Republicans gathered in Houston. “Despite what some of you may have heard, the framework that we are working on is consistent with that red line,” he said.
Cornyn has been booed at conservative gatherings before, and he said in an interview earlier this month that he expected some backlash from his willingness to talk with Democrats. Still, the reception underscored the political challenges facing the delicate talks, which Democrats cast as a modest but significant effort at reining in gun violence and Republicans call an effort focused on mental health and school safety that also aims to better enforce existing laws.
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