- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2022

Senate Democrats involved in gun talks with Republicans are working overtime to convince the GOP base they are not a threat to the Second Amendment or legal gun owners.

Sen. Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat spearheading the talks, penned an op-ed published Thursday by Fox News vouching for the earnestness of the effort.

“When news started to trickle out about the horrific shooting in Uvalde … I begged my fellow Senators to sit down at the table with me to work out a compromise that could save lives,” Mr. Murphy wrote. “But before I could take my seat, the campaign had begun to try to make conservative gun owners believe my offer wasn’t sincere — that I really had a secret agenda to take people’s guns away.”

Mr. Murphy said his only goal is to bridge the partisan divide and find a way to prevent mass shootings in the future, even if that means settling for a smaller overhaul of gun and public safety laws.

“I’m willing to pass incremental change, like tightening up our background checks system and helping states pass laws to allow law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others,” he wrote. “I’m also very supportive of providing more mental health resources to help young men in crisis and more funding to pay for security upgrades at our schools.”

The editorial comes as a group of nine senators from both parties are exploring whether a bipartisan compromise can be reached on guns in the wake of last month’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Lawmakers hope a deal can be forged on expanding background checks for gun purchases and incentivizing states to adopt “red flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to remove firearms from individuals determined by a court to be a danger.

Despite hopes that the issue areas could generate broad appeal, Republicans and Second Amendment activists have begun mobilizing opposition. Gun rights advocates, in particular, have lambasted the idea of Congress incentivizing states to adopt red flag laws, saying such statutes violate due process.

“We’re already planning our full attack plan on it,” said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights.

Mr. Murphy said that although he believes the Second Amendment protects the right of legal gun owners, there are limits to all constitutional rights.

“I don’t believe the Constitution protects the right of criminals or people with serious mental illness to own weapons,” he wrote. “And while all of us might draw the line in a different place, I think we all agree that the Constitution allows Congress to decide which weapons are so dangerous as to be kept exclusively in the hands of the military.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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