Senate gun background check talks hit wall

Senate talks focused on trying to cut a deal on gun background checks have hit a stumbling block. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynProgressive groups launch .5M ad buy to pressure Sinema on filibuster Black lawmakers warn against complacency after Juneteenth victory The Senate is where dreams go to die MORE (R-Texas) said Wednesday that he and Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenate GOP blocks voting rights bill Congress barrels toward debt cliff End the practice of hitting children in public schools MORE (D-Conn.) had cut off talks after being unable to reach an agreement.

“He didn’t think we were making any headway so we’re no longer having any talks on a regular basis,” Cornyn said. 


Cornyn said he and Murphy, along with their respective staff, had been talking and “worked hard” but were “unable to reach a conclusion.”

Murphy, in a statement, confirmed that he and Cornyn had been unable to reach an agreement.

“I have been very open to compromise and I think Senator Cornyn was negotiating in good faith,” Murphy said. 

“But we haven't been able to get to a bill that would meaningfully increase the number of gun sales that require background checks,” Murphy added.

Murphy didn't completely close the door to getting a deal on background checks, noting that he was still in conversations with other Republicans.  

“I’m committed to getting something done,” he added. 


The House previously passed legislation to expand background checks to nearly all purchases. But that bill is unlikely to pick up enough GOP support to defeat a filibuster and even Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster Biden says push to advance elections overhaul 'far from over' Pelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee MORE (W.Va.) had said that he couldn't support the House bill. 

Murphy and Cornyn had been talking about how to expand the number of sales subjected to a background check to include all commercial sales and find a way to address unlicensed sellers. 

Congress has struggled for years to get an agreement on gun reforms or expanding background checks despite a steady stream of high-profile mass shootings that have kept pressure on lawmakers to act. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerWhite House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill Harris to preside over Senate for voting rights debate MORE (D-N.Y.) has vowed that he will hold a vote on gun reform legislation, potentially as soon as this month.  

Democrats had previously pointed to the June work period as the point that they wanted to move forward on the floor even if they didn't have a deal with Republicans. 

"I'm really hoping sometime in June we're gonna have a vote. We've made progress. We need to put it on the floor of the United States," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told reporters.