News and Commentary

McConnell Gathers Three Senators To Craft Bipartisan Response To Mass Shootings
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks toward his office after voting in the Senate Chamber
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed on Monday that he requested the help of three Republican senators to brainstorm bipartisan solutions to address the recent slew of mass shootings.

McConnell tapped Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, after talking to the three men about the task.

“I asked them to reflect on the subjects the president raised within their jurisdictions and encouraged them to engage in bipartisan discussions of potential solutions to help protect communities without infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights,” the majority leader said in a statement.

McConnell’s comments come on the heels of back-to-back mass shootings over the weekend. On Saturday, a gunman opened fire in a Walmart shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, murdering more than 20 individuals and injuring over two dozen others. A second attacker took the lives of nine people and injured nearly 30 others after he gunned down people in a bar in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday morning.

President Donald Trump urged all Americans to come together and called for bipartisan cooperation on determining potential solutions.

“Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided,” Trump said while addressing the nation. “We must seek real bipartisan solutions. We have to do that in a bipartisan manner that will truly make America safer and better for all.”

He further highlighted four areas of focus: reforming mental health laws, ending the glorification of violence, enacting so-called “red-flag laws,” which allow for temporary gun confiscation from individuals deemed a danger to oneself or to others, and improve ways to identify early warning signs and subsequently prevent future mass shootings from occurring.

Accordingly, Trump announced that he directed the Department of Justice to work in concert with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as in partnership with social media companies to develop tools that can detect potential mass shooters before they attempt to carry out violence.

“It was serious, bipartisan work that led to last year’s successful passage of the Fix NICS Act and the STOP School Violence Act,” McConnell said. “Only serious, bipartisan, bicameral efforts will enable us to continue this important work and produce further legislation that can pass the Senate, pass the House, and earn the president’s signature.”

“Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve,” he added.

All three Senate chairmen confirmed their conversation with the majority leader over Twitter.

“Really appreciate talking with Senator McConnell today and appreciate his desire to find bipartisan solutions after these tragic shootings,” Graham said. “Senator McConnell is seeking solutions rather than political blame, and is prepared to work with Democrats in the House and Senate to put legislation on the President’s desk that will help the problem.”

“Especially in a nation with a constitutional right to bear arms, new laws from Washington D.C. alone won’t stop the violence – it will take a change in behavior,” Alexander tweeted. “Every day our internet democracy displays millions of hateful thoughts. To change this behavior, each of us have a responsibility to replace these hateful thoughts with statements that respect the dignity of every individual regardless of their background.”

“It will be important for any solution we consider to be able to pass the Senate and the House and earn the president’s signature,” Wicker added.