(CNSNews.com) – A waiting period for people ages 18-21 to buy semi-automatic weapons is “certainly something I would support,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday.
That’s reportedly part of the ongoing, bipartisan negotiations among senators — negotiations made urgent by the recent massacre of 19 elementary school children and two teachers by a disturbed 18-year-old who bought two such rifles within days of 18th birthday and used one of them inside a Uvalde, Texas elementary school a few days later.
“So a waiting period for 18- to 21-year-olds to purchase these so-called assault rifles, the weapons that were used in Uvalde, and in other recent mass shootings in Buffalo and in other tragic killings is one important step,” Coons said.
“So-called red flag laws that provide federal incentives for states to adopt laws that with due process protections make it possible for local law enforcement, for school officials or parents to petition a court to temporarily take away the weapons of those who are giving clear signals of an intent to harm others, as happened in Parkland, is another idea that is being actively discussed, that I’m helping to work on.
“My home state of Delaware, states like Florida, Indiana, already have these so-called red flag laws. I think that would be a great thing for us to incentivize other states to take up and pass as well.”
Coons said he and his fellow Democrats would like gun control legislation to “go further than that,” but he noted that “the art of politics is the art of the possible. And given the brutality, the tragedy of what happened in Uvalde, given the number of mass shootings that have happened just since then, there is a sense of urgency here about taking concrete steps.
“They wouldn’t address all the sources of gun violence in our country, not by a long shot, but they would help us begin to make some real efforts at keeping guns out of the hands of those who send out strong signals that they intend to harm others.”
Coons said he remembers doing “duck and cover” drills as a school child, “and how that made me feel unsafe and insecure. But it was so distant — the idea that there would ever be a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.”
Coons said mass shootings “tragically” are not distant: “This is reality. And it is regularly happening over and over again. “So…any step we can take, I think we should take.
“The last bill that president Biden signed into law in this area was a bill I did with John Cornyn, to require that state police be notified if a person prohibited from buying a gun, a convicted felon, say, goes into a federally licensed firearm dealer and lies on the background check and tries to get a gun.
“Does that solve everything? No. But it will take guns out of the hands of several hundred people a year, and that might save lives and is well worth doing.”
Coons said he’s “optimistic” after speaking to Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) who are leading the bipartisan negotiations.
“There is a sense of determination and purpose, but I’ll remind you, we have to get at least 60 votes to pass anything of substance in this Senate, and that’s a challenge. As long as President Biden and Minority Leader, Republican leader McConnell and Senate Leader Schumer are all pulling in the same direction, are all supporting the talks, I am optimistic.
“Frankly, what is maddening here is that the overwhelming majority of the American people, a majority of gun owners and a majority of Republicans support strengthening background checks, and red flag laws, yet this is so difficult for us to get done.”
Sen. Murphy told NBC News on Monday, “So, sometimes when we go away for a week, right, we go home for a week, sensitive negotiations like this fall apart. This week the opposite is happening because my colleagues went home & heard the same thing I did. Parents are frightened.
“They’re frightened to death for their kids and they’re frightened to death that their government isn’t going to be able to respond to the most fundamental concern the parents have — the safety of their kids.
“I think senators are coming back to town today with a newfound resolve to get something done. I get it. There’s a reason why we haven’t passed substantial gun reform in 30 years. This is the most politically complicated, most emotionally fraught issue we deal with. I think something different is happening right now,” Murphy said.
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