A key Republican senator provided a major update on a prospective new gun control deal that several other senators are currently negotiating.
“The issue that we have here is that we don’t have a bill,” Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee told Fox News Sunday regarding the first major federal gun control bill in decades.
“I kept asking to see text and it became apparent that they didn’t have a bill and in fact they don’t have a deal at all,” Lee said.
A key sticking point is said be a measure incentivizing states to pass so-called “red flag laws,” which would allow police to confiscate a person’s firearms if a court deems them to be unstable. Police would be tipped off about such persons by friends, neighbors, relatives, or others.
The gun removal would occur without the affected individual getting his or her day in court first, which civil libertarians have decried as a blatant violation of the Constitution’s due process guarantee, not to mention the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to bear arms.
Lawmakers have been under pressure to reduce gun violence after two mass shootings last month at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Last week, John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator in U.S. Senate efforts to craft a bipartisan gun safety bill, walked out of the talks, while the lead Democrat remained optimistic that lawmakers could vote on legislation before leaving for a two-week July 4 recess.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers have an agreement on a series of “very broad promises,” Lee said. “But on the most contentious, controversial, potentially impactful provisions there is no language.”
Cornyn, a Texas Republican, was booed over the weekend when he attended the state’s GOP convention for taking part in the negotiations.
“No gun control!” people in the crowd shouted, according to The Houston Chronicle and video of the event.
“I’m as passionate as you are about something called the United States Constitution,” Cornyn said during the speech, according to the report.
Fox News added:
Cornyn began negotiating the bipartisan gun control and gun violence prevention bill with Democrats after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary School on May 24, which left 19 children and two adults dead.
Cornyn was given the negotiation assignment by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).