Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyRepublicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO Israel signals confidence in its relationship with Biden MORE (D-Conn.) said on Wednesday that senators are nearing a bipartisan deal on gun legislation following a number of high-profile mass shootings.
Big news: super close to a bipartisan breakthrough on gun legislation. Stay tuned...— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 15, 2017
Murphy's office pointed The Hill to comments made last week by Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynMental health: The power of connecting requires the power of investing Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Cornyn says he 'would be surprised' if GOP tries to unseat Sinema in 2024 MORE (R-Texas), who said that he would talk to Democrats about strengthening background checks – an initiative that gained some bipartisan momentum earlier this month after a gunman opened fire on a church in southern Texas, killing 26 people.
It was revealed shortly after the attack that the gunman, 26-year-old Devin Kelley, was able to slip through the system and purchase firearms, despite a known history of violence.
Cornyn has been a driving force in the GOP for strengthening background checks since the Nov. 5 shooting. He told reporters last week that he would work with Democrats to close gaps in the system, and that he had spoke to Murphy, as well as Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Sununu setback leaves GOP scrambling in New Hampshire MORE (D-N.H.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Degrees not debt will grow the economy Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.M.) about the matter.
Kelley was convicted of domestic abuse in a court-martial in 2012, while he was serving in the Air Force. He was sentenced to a year in confinement and a bad conduct discharge.
But the Air Force never reported the conviction to the FBI's criminal database, which is used to conduct background checks for firearm purchases. Had it been reported, Kelley would have been barred from buying guns.
Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after carrying out the attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.
The Texas shooting came just over a month after the massacre in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, which left 58 people dead and more than 525 wounded.
Updated at 2:32 p.m.