GOP senators behind bipartisan gun control say they're done

GOP senators behind bipartisan gun control say they're done
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Following Uvalde, a small group of Republican senators broke with the rest of the party and negotiated a bipartisan gun control deal. It wasn’t the broad, sweeping anti-gun measures that many wanted, but it was gun control.

Now, following a series of mass shootings, there’s a renewed push for anti-gun legislation, this time in the form of an assault weapon ban.

Unfortunately for those pushing it, the Republicans behind the last bill aren’t interested in a repeat performance.

Republican senators who, in the past, have worked with Democrats on gun control told the Daily Caller News Foundation they will not support new attempts to pass a more far-reaching firearm ban in the lame-duck session of the 117th Congress, following a mass shooting in Colorado Springs on Nov. 20.

In June, 15 GOP senators voted with Democrats to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, following the killing of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which added “domestic violence abusers” to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and enhanced the review process for gun purchasers under 21 years of age.

However, none of these lawmakers who responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation indicated they would support a bill that encompasses the AR-15, a popular rifle among American gun owners.

“Senator [Pat] Toomey [of Pennsylvania]…does not support a ban on assault weapons because it would prohibit law-abiding citizens from owning what are some of the most popular firearms in the United States,” a spokesperson for Toomey told the DCNF.

The office of Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, meanwhile, shared an article with the DCNF about Graham owning an AR-15, indicating his opposition to the ban.

A spokesman for Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who also voted for June’s legislation, said that he had been “consistently opposed” to an assault weapons ban and would not be supporting new legislation. This was echoed by an aide to Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who said that Sasse would not support the ban even though he is leaving the Senate at the end of the year.

Without those lawmakers, an assault weapon ban cannot happen.

Even as Democrats are set to have control of the Senate come January, they would still need many of those same senators. Just how many depends on the outcome of the run-off election in Georgia, but that’s only one potential seat that won’t change the math all that much on this regardless of the outcome.

And the only hope for the Biden administration to get gun control passed is to do it during the lame-duck session.

After the new Congress starts, Republicans will control the House and have enough votes in the Senate to block any legislation they want. Gun control becomes a non-starter at that point, regardless of what Biden and his fellow Democrats want.

Unless, of course, he can manage to get enough Republicans to cross the aisle on this issue.

However, since the handful who already showed some willingness to do so have said no, there’s just not a lot of chance of that happening.

So the president can call for assault weapon bans all he wants–and make no mistake, he will, even when it’s not remotely relevant–but that’s about all he’ll be able to do.