Whether his claims were made in earnest or as part of an orchestrated narrative of political gamesmanship ahead of the midterm elections, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) seemed to suggest Sunday that the attitude on gun control was changing among Republicans.
Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” Durbin continued the hyper-partisanship following the tragedy in Uvalde, TX where 19 children and two teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School Tuesday. Despite noting similar tragedies that had taken place, as this recent atrocity did, when Democrats controlled the legislature and the White House, the senator pushed the weight of responsibility on the GOP.
When Bash asked, “Is anything actually going to get done this time?” Durbin seemed to suggest the Republicans were willingly going to take that burden from their liberal counterparts.
“I can’t say for certain,” he expressed, “but I can tell you I sense a different feeling among my colleagues after Uvalde.”
As The Hill detailed, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) prompted Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to commence with a bipartisan negotiating group headed by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to find common ground on background checks and red flag laws that remove the right to firearm ownership from someone deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Of the talks between Murphy and Cornyn, Durbin offered a departure from the rules and stated, “if you can make progress between you, if you can move us forward, don’t worry about the committee jurisdiction.”
“Do the right thing and do as much as you can do,” he stated further. “And let’s join together, if we can, on a bipartisan basis and show the American people that what happened in Uvalde was not in vain.”
Durbin, who is the second highest ranked Democrat in the Senate behind Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), was essentially echoing the sentiment of the New York lawmaker who said earlier this week he would not hold a vote on any gun control measures unless it had enough votes to pass.
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What was overlooked on this renewed push for “commonsense” gun control is that Murphy and Cornyn had been in negotiations through last summer that were abandoned by the Democrat who stated, “Cornyn negotiated in good faith,” but he added, “where we ended up just was not better than current law.”
Igor Volsky, co-founder of Gun Down America said in February that Schumer had promised there would be a vote on reforms and, “then it got pushed back even further.”
“They’re using this familiar playbook of making all kinds of promises during the campaign and then [failing] to deliver anything when they’re in power.”
At the time, it was perceived that vulnerable Democrats were stalling on going on the record out of fear it would hurt their chances in the November elections. As leader, Schumer would take the brunt of the inaction, but middling Republicans have opened the door for him to blame his own hesitancies on the other side of the aisle.
So, whether Durbin is giving an accurate account of the direction McConnell seeks to take on gun control or not, control of the narrative appears to have been ceded to the Democrats.
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