Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a leading advocate for gun control in the Senate, expressed doubt on Sunday that an assault weapons ban once again being pushed by President Biden after the country’s latest mass shooting could pass the upper chamber.
Biden said he was “going to try to get rid of assault weapons” during the lame-duck session of Congress this year following a recent string of mass shootings, but such a proposal would need 10 Republican votes to break the legislative filibuster, assuming Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) can get all 50 Democrats to support the legislation.
“Probably not,” Murphy told CNN “State of the Union” co-anchor Dana Bash when asked if the proposal could garner 60 votes.
“But let’s see if we can try to get that number as close to 60 as possible,” Murphy continued. “If we don’t have the votes, then we’ll talk to Senator Schumer and maybe come back next year with maybe an additional senator and see if we can do better.”
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Democrats have maintained their razor-thin majority in the Senate for the upcoming term, and next month’s runoff in Georgia gives the party a chance to gain a seat if Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) fends off Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
The House in July passed a bill to ban assault weapons in a near-party line vote, but the proposal has yet to come up for a vote in the Senate.
Biden, who helped pass a decade-long assault weapons ban in 1994 as a senator, made the renewed push for the proposal following mass shootings at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., and a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va.
“If you look at some of the most high-profile mass shootings in the last couple of years, many of those mass shooters bought the weapon just days before carrying out the crime,” Murphy said on CNN. “And so if those weapons were no longer commercially available, only in possession of those who had bought them previously, I think a lot of mass shootings would have been prevented.”
Authorities have said the Colorado Springs suspect used an assault-style rifle when they killed five people and injured more than a dozen others. The Chesapeake suspect used a handgun in last week’s shooting, officials said, but legally purchased the weapon hours earlier.
“If you pass an assault weapons ban, you’re not going to magically eliminate mass shootings in this country,” Murphy said on Sunday. “But it is true that that AR-15 or an AR-15-style weapon is generally the choice of mass shooters.”