Republicans Supporting Modest Gun Reform Are Under Fire From Trump and the Far Right

Almost a month after a gunman fatally shot 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, legislators are finally on the cusp of a gun reform agreement. In a vote of 64-34 the U.S. Senate advanced a bipartisan bill aimed at implementing new, extremely modest gun legislation. 

The bill would enhance background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21 and remove guns from the possession of those who have committed domestic violence or pose an immediate danger to themselves and others. The bill does not in any way erode the existing rights of gun owners, nor does it prohibit 18-year-olds from purchasing high-powered rifles. It  instead focuses on curbing illegal gun sales and purchases, and providing funding for mental health and anti-violence programs.

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While the proposed legislation would provide important advancements in the need for stronger firearm regulation, it is still a far cry from the comprehensive reform needed to address the epidemic of gun violence ravaging the country. For conservative media, however, any attempt to restrict firearms access, no matter how small, is cause for outrage. Conservative pundits and public figures have turned their ire on Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and 13 other republicans who voted in favor of the legislation. 

Former President Donald Trump called Cornyn a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only), and characterized the bill as the first step towards mass gun confiscation.

Texas Republicans rebuked Cornyn over the weekend at their annual convention in Houston for his participation in the bipartisan talks behind the bill. Fox Host Tucker Carlson lambasted Cornyn and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for engaging in a “subversion of democracy” that would lead to “collapse.” “Who needs Democrats?” Asked Donald Trump Jr. accusing Republican leadership of selling out their voters. 

Serial plagiarist and facebook meme expert Benny Johnson called Cornyn a “lying bastard” for including gun confiscation provisions in the bill and encouraged followers to “[melt] down” Cornyn’s office phone line for the remainder of his term. Charlie Kirk accused Senate Republicans of undermining their much desired  “red wave” in the 2020 midterms. 

In response, Cornyn stated that If he listened to all of the critics he “wouldn’t get much done.” 

The vitriolic backlash is not unexpected, the GOP has for decades drawn a hard line against any legislation that would curb gun violence, preferring instead a strategy of feveristic armament in every aspect of American life. 

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