“We know we can do something that would have prevented this — raising the age,” Manchin said of Uvalde. “And the second thing is that we know that the red-flag laws do work, as long as there’s due process.”
On the question of enacting a ban on assault weapons, Manchin said he would be open to the idea, but that proposal faces stiff opposition from Senate Republicans.
“I never thought I had a need for that type of high-capacity automatic weapon,” Manchin said. “I like to shoot. I like to go out and hunt. I like to go out sports shooting. I do all that. But I’ve never felt I needed something of that magnitude.”
While there were no major decisions made by the supreme court today, the justices did opt not to review legal sanctions against Republican Senate candidate Mark McCloskey and his wife Patricia, who pointed guns at protesters during racial justice protesters in Missouri two years ago.
CNN reports that the McCloskeys, both attorneys, pled guilty to misdemeanors over the incident, which were later pardoned by Missouri’s governor. However the state’s supreme court later sanctioned them, calling their actions “moral turpitude.”
The McCloskeys contested the penalties, citing the constitution’s second amendment, but CNN reported the argument didn’t have much chance of success.
Mark McCloskey is a candidate in the Republican senate primary in Missouri to succeed Roy Blunt, who is retiring, but a SurveyUSA poll released last month did not find him among the race’s frontrunners.
As the Senate tries to find compromise on gun control, Joe Biden is using the presidential bully pulpit to urge Congress to take action to prevent more tragedies like Uvalde.
“After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done,” Biden said on Twitter. “This time, that can’t be true. This time, we must actually do something.”
Biden offered the same message to the nation last week, when he delivered a primetime address on the need to enact stricter gun laws.
He proposed expanding background checks and banning assault weapons. If Congress cannot approve an assault weapons ban, which seems unlikely given Republicans’ opposition to the idea, then the minimum age required to purchase those guns should be raised from 18 to 21, Biden said.
The House has already passed several gun-control bills, and Biden called on the Senate to act as well in the wake of the Uvalde massacre.
However, that will be difficult when the upper chamber is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, and the filibuster rules requires 60 votes to advance most legislation.
“I support the bipartisan efforts that include a small group of Democrats and Republican senators trying to find a way,” Biden said last Thursday.
“But my God, the fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable. We can’t fail the American people again.”
This week will provide some key clues as to whether any gun-control bill can pass the Senate.
The Wall Street Journal has published a deep dive into the relationship between Chris Murphy and John Cornyn, the two senators tasked with finding a compromise on gun control in Congress, which focuses on their experiences with mass shootings in their states.
The experience of Murphy, a Democrat, stems from the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting which, like last month’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, left dead scores of children in class. Republican Cornyn’s experience came in 2017 during a shooting at a Sutherland Springs, Texas church that killed 26 people, and again with the killings in Uvalde.
As the Journal reports:
“Both of us have gone through things and seen things that are pretty, pretty horrific,” said Mr. Murphy in an interview, pointing to the shootings in their states. “I don’t think there’s any way that that doesn’t propel you in some way, shape or form to go out, do something, to make sure that all of this stops.”
The two men, coming from parties with sharply different positions on the gun debate, are working to overcome decades of distrust and inaction on guns in a deeply polarized Congress, aiming to pull together an agreement as soon as this week. Many Democrats, worn down after repeated failures to advance new laws, have said they are willing to settle for even a small bipartisan deal. Some Republicans also are open to talks, emphasizing school security and mental illness but wary of any steps that could be cast as hurting gun rights.
Murphy and Cornyn worked together on legislation enacted in 2017 that improved background checks, though a compromise on tougher gun control measures has eluded Congress for years despite successive mass shootings.
A reminder of how perilous the issue can be came on Friday, when Republican New York congressman Chris Jacobs called off his reelection bid after he drew a fierce backlash for voicing support for gun control legislation.
The secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has tested positive for Covid, making him the latest senior official in the Biden administration to contract the virus.
“I have tested positive for COVID-19 and am experiencing mild symptoms,” Buttigieg said on Twitter. “I plan to work remotely while isolating according to CDC guidelines, and look forward to when I can safely return to the office and the road.”
Several of Joe Biden’s cabinet members have tested positive for Covid in recent weeks, as the US confronts another surge in cases.
The secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, tested positive last week, and Vice-President Kamala Harris contracted the virus last month, as did secretary of state Antony Blinken.
Buttigieg, who ran for president in 2020 before endorsing Biden and later joining his cabinet, has been traveling across the country to tout the benefits of the bipartisan infrastructure law.