One of the main Republican co-sponsors of a Senate gun-control bill defended his choice to introduce it, claiming there is “a lot of misinformation” around the provision around red flag laws.
“I want to be clear because there’s been a lot of misinformation, misunderstanding on this point. None of what we are proposing would create a national red flag law. No national red flag law,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said from the Senate floor on Tuesday.
A provision in the bill, which is supported by Democrat leadership, includes adding funding for states to enforce red flag laws. Critics of those measures have said they violate the Due Process Clause of the Consitution and place too much power in the hands of judges.
“Some have mischaracterized this provision as an incentive for states to pass a red flag law, but that’s something I’m aiming to avoid,” Cornyn said, without detailing how he plans on avoiding the phenomenon. “I trust the states to make their own decisions, and 16 states have decided to pass red flag laws.”
Should a state not use the “money to implement a red flag law,” said Cornyn, “they should not be able to do so unless their red flag law contains a full set of due process and Bill of Rights protections in the Constitution.”
Cornyn and nine other Republicans who co-signed an announcement on the new gun-control framework have faced blowback from other GOP lawmakers as well as pro-Second Amendment groups for siding with Democrats and caving to pressure after several high-profile mass shootings in Texas, New York, and Oklahoma in recent weeks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled Tuesday that he would support the bill. On Sunday, President Joe Biden, a long-time supporter of bans on magazines with 10 rounds or more and bans on many semi-automatic rifles, said he would sign it into law, but he suggested that he wants more gun-control laws on the books.
“There should be ZERO votes for red flag laws in the [House Republican Party]. Stop helping Joe Biden and the Democrats hurt Americans. The people will not forget,” wrote Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) in response to Sunday’s proposal.
And on Monday night, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson declared that red flag laws “are unconstitutional” and warned that “we may soon get red flag laws across the country.” “Red flag laws will end due process,” he said, arguing that those measures won’t end mass shootings.