WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said Monday that the Senate’s legislation to try and fix mass shootings wasn’t a gun bill. Instead, Cornyn says that the new legislation is actually a mental health bill.
The deal struck by the super-majority of 60 lawmakers will deny weapons to those who are mentally ill. Currently, the laws in place mandate that guns can only be taken away from those who are institutionalized. Oklahoma is the only state in the U.S. that has a law that bans such laws. It also limits the ability for the mentally ill to purchase assault rifles with an additional background check for anyone under 21.
Gun safety advocates have said that it certainly isn’t the bill that they hoped for, but it’s a start.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who has been pushing gun safety legislation since the Sandy Hook mass shooting in his state, told Raw Story that the measure gives “billions of dollars to mental illness and makes bipartisan, common-sense changes to our gun laws.”
Murphy went on to explain it as an “old-fashion compromise” that Republicans could agree with while also funding mental health. The dramatic increase in mental health funding in the bill allows Republicans to go back to their states and claim that the legislation has nothing to do with taking away people’s guns.
The question, however, is how many of the past mass shootings would have been stopped by a bill like this. Murphy agreed that it likely wouldn’t have stopped the Sandy Hook shooting, but it may have stopped the Uvalde, Texas shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.
“Look, I don’t think we’re ever going to create legislation that would have stopped every, single mass shooting,” he told Raw Story. “I will make the case that this bill could have had an impact in Uvalde. But every mass shooting is different and I don’t think we’ll ever be successful in legislation that would have prevented every, single, mass atrocity.”
Murphy has been one of the strongest advocates for gun safety laws, taking to the Senate floor after the Uvalde shooting to beg for Republicans to work with him on absolutely anything. He ultimately said that such agreements aren’t great, but he didn’t want “the perfect to be the enemy of good.”
Issues like expanding background checks, changing the age to purchase a gun to 21 and other top issues were taken out of the bill. There was Republican support for many of those measures, but not enough for a 60-vote majority.
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A group of 20 bipartisan Senators sent out a statement on Monday saying that they had a deal that could get to a 60-vote majority, though the legislation has not yet been completely written. Other senators, like Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) demanded that the Senate not pass anything on guns until there was a hearing on Hunter Biden.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told Raw Story that she’s not clear if she’s with the group or not, as she’s only seen the information about the bill through media reports and not the specifics.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) echoed Cornyn’s talking point when speaking to Raw Story. He explained that the legislation wasn’t a gun bill and it should be all about strengthening school security.
In the case of schools like Uvalde and Parkland, there were school security officers. Security was also present at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York.