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Memorial Day begins a crucial time for gun reform negotiations

Democrats and Republicans are doing something that hasn't happened in months: Talking
Gun Silencers Regulation
Posted at 2:00 AM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 05:00:29-04

WASHINGTON — It may be a holiday week but negotiations are expected to intensify over possible landmark gun legislation nationwide following the mass shootings in Texas, California and New York.

Democrats are saying one thing, meanwhile, some Republicans are saying another.

"When, in God's name, are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?" President Biden asked last week.

Some Republicans remain firmly opposed to any new gun legislation.

"It's not effective, it doesn't prevent crime," Senator Ted Cruz told reporters last week.

However, after years of little to no negotiation, Democrats, and Republicans in Congress, are talking about some gun reform.

"This may be a moment when there is enough momentum," Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Thomas says for the moment it appears there is a genuine effort in Congress to possibly improve background checks and red flag laws. Red flag laws, or extreme risk protection orders as they are known in some states, have emerged as something that could actually change.

Versions of the law already exist in 19 states, which allow guns to be temporarily seized by law enforcement if an individual is deemed a threat by a judge. Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida signed a version of it into law in Florida when he was governor which is fueling some optimism.

LATEST IN CONGRESS

This week, even though the Senate is not in Washington, is believed to be a critical one for negotiations. 10 Republicans must join 50 Democrats in the Senate for any new law to pass. Thomas says time is critical to getting something done. The longer the negotiations take the higher the chance the discussions break down.

"One of the difficulties of this work in these situations is it's in the immediate aftermath of these events that people are paying attention," Thomas said.

Democratic leadership elected prior to the Memorial Day recess to not hold any controversial vote that they knew would fail. Instead, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) is leading the negotiation on behalf of Democrats. He is expected to continue to speak with Republicans this week to see if something might be able to pass.

Senator Mitch McConnell has agreed to some discussion, instructing Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to lead the effort.

THE OTHER SIDE

Because this controversial issue has both sides, it's important to discuss the topic with gun owners as well.

Harold Johnson is from Bay Area Firearms, and is one of the leading instructors in Northern California.

Johnson lives in a state where there are red flag laws already.

A new nationwide red flag law doesn't upset him as much, but what does bother him are calls to ban AR-15s, like the one he held up during our interview.

"Harold, a lot of people watching this will say that gun is responsible for a lot of deaths," our Joe St. George asked Johnson.

"It's the person who did it. Anybody can go into a school without this rifle and they use a handgun, a dagger," Johnson added.

Harold, like many gun-owning Americans who don't want new laws, is actually hoping more guns may be allowed for protection soon on American streets.

He's waiting on a Supreme Court ruling this month that could force cities in states like New York and California to issue more concealed carry permits.

In those states, you have to show a need for one right now and local governments often deny those requests. Last fall, San Francisco had just two active concealed carry permits in the entire city.

"Maybe if teachers were trained and they have it concealed, so it could be hidden from the students, maybe they'd have a better chance of stopping someone," Johnson said.