Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told CNN on Wednesday that his discussions with Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., about a bill to expand background checks on firearms have failed to produce a deal and will not continue.
“Unfortunately we've been unable to find an agreed upon outcome, so basically, he suggested to me that there wasn't any real reason to continue talking right now,” Cornyn told CNN congressional correspondent Lauren Fox.
"I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Senator Cornyn about proposals to increase background checks. I have been very open to compromise and I think Senator Cornyn was negotiating in good faith," Murphy said on Wednesday, in a statement.
"But we haven't been able to get to a bill that would meaningfully increase the number of gun sales that require background checks,” he continued. “The good news is that I’m still talking with other Republican colleagues about different proposals to expand background checks, and I’m committed to getting something done."
NBC News previously reported that the senators were working on finding a way to close a loophole in the system that allows unlicensed sellers to transfer weapons to dangerous people who otherwise might not pass a standard background check.
“We need to clear that up,” Cornyn said in an interview last month. “That by definition will make more people get background checks because all federal firearms licensees have to do background checks.”
Murphy said at the time: “It’s an opportunity for agreement.”
He noted that “There is interest about reclassifying — about clarifying who is a dealer, who isn't. It's very difficult to enforce, because the statute is ridiculously vague right now. We're talking about a number of ideas. That’s one of them.”
Cornyn added, “What we're trying to protect, or carve out, are the hobbyist and or casual transactions between friends and family members, but capture the people who literally are making a living and making a profit selling firearms, and give that to the U.S. attorneys to prosecute.”
The Texas Republican noted that the culprit in the 2019 mass shooting in Odessa was unable to buy a gun from a licensed dealer because of his mental health issues, “But then he went to an unlicensed dealer who bought parts and assembled those — but basically was in the business of manufacturing firearms. But because he was not a federal firearms licensee — because he was evading that requirement — he didn’t do a background check and this guy got this AR-15 lookalike and killed a lot of innocent people.”
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