Bipartisan Senate group meeting to address gun violence

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Democratic and Republican senators will meet virtually on Tuesday to discuss possible legislative measures to address gun violence in the U.S.

The bipartisan effort comes in the wake of multiple mass shootings in recent months, including one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers died. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is leading the talks on the Republican side after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., picked him for the job.

“We’re already having those discussions in person and on the phone,” Cornyn told reporters Monday about talks with Democrats, according to The Hill. “Look forward to meeting on Tuesday through a Zoom call to try to see if we can agree on a basic framework about how we go forward.”

President Biden described Cornyn as “a rational Republican,” as he did for McConnell as well. “I think there’s a recognition in their party that they — we can’t continue like this.”


Among the issues expected to be discussed are universal background checks for firearm sales and red flag laws, which allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to order that a person’s guns be removed if they pose a threat to themselves or others. Republicans want to ensure that legislation does not improperly infringe upon the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.


President Biden has also pointed to a potential ban on assault weapons, which Republicans have opposed because the term “assault weapon” does not have a set definition. A 1994 ban of semi-automatic assault weapons named which specific weapons were banned, while also including those that could accept detachable magazines and that had two features from a list of several other features.

Weapons that could not accept detachable magazine of more than five rounds were excluded from the ban.

“I know that it makes no sense to be able to purchase something that can fire up to 300 rounds,” Biden said.


Biden has also recently pointed to caliber size as a factor that affects the deadliness of a weapon. The president described a 9mm bullet is “high caliber,” and claimed that as a senator he visited a New York hospital where a doctor told him that “a 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body.”

A study of data compiled by the Boston Police Department found that caliber size does impact death rates in shootings, with larger calibers being deadlier, although it classified 9mm bullets as medium caliber, compared to small calibers of .22, .25, and .32, and large calibers of .357 magnum, .40, .44 magnum, .45, 10 mm, and 7.62 × 39 mm.

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