Republicans in the House are sending a clear message that they want no part of helping Democrats pass the most significant gun control legislation in decades.
House Republican leaders are rallying their members to vote against Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) “bi-partisan” gun control deal, which includes funding for controversial “red flag” laws,” reports said.
House GOP to vote against gun control deal
The bill passed an initial vote in the Senate on Tuesday night with support from Republicans, with Cornyn and Mitch McConnell (KY) leading the way.
McConnell praised the bill as a “common sense” response to gun violence that, somehow, would not infringe on the Second Amendment. He assured conservatives worried about losing their gun rights that “this time is different.”
But the top three Republicans in the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — no conservative hardliner by any means — Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) are all against the legislation.
The part of the bill that has caused most alarm would provide funding to incentivize states to enact “red flag” laws that allow a person’s guns to be confiscated if they are considered a danger to the community. Many gun owners are worried that these laws effectively eliminate due process.
Cornyn presented talking points to Republican colleagues over lunch to talk them out of their concerns. The bill, he said, would only affect “violent criminals and those adjudicated as mentally ill.”
But Republicans in the House expressed doubts that gun control would stop there, using words like “betrayal” to describe the Senate GOP’s action. Republican senators are known for being more liberal than their House counterparts.
“It’s a betrayal of Republican voters. It earns those senators no plaudits that will be durable,” Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) said.
“Lots of people up here don’t seem to understand the meaning of conservative.”
A memo from Scalise instructed members to vote “no” and laid out concerns with the “vague language” of the red flag provision and tougher background checks for those between ages 18 and 21 that would make them “second-class citizens.”
It looks like McCarthy, who has ambitions of being Speaker of the House, is not inclined to follow McConnell’s lead and jeopardize a red wave in the midterm elections by demoralizing Republican voters. Unfortunately, the McConnell-Cornyn bill is certain to pass the Democrat-controlled House anyway.