Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asserted he would fight back against attempts at enacting federal gun laws while knocking Senator John Cornyn’s involvement in considerations of potential legislation on the matter.
“It’s a disappointment to me that our own Texas senator would even consider doing anything to limit the Second Amendment,” Paxton told radio host Chris Salcedo last week.
“If they try to do it, we’ll be the first to sue them and claim our Second Amendment Rights,” Paxton said.
After the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Sen. Cornyn said discussions with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) over potential changes to gun laws “had new urgency.”
Cornyn and Murphy, along with Sens. Tom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) are reportedly discussing measures such as increased background checks, a waiting period after purchasing a firearm for 18- to 21-year-olds, school safety, and mental health funding, according to Politico.
Last year, the two senators had discussions over increasing background checks, which fell apart after the pair could not reach an agreement.
On June 1, talk show host Joe Pagliarulo tweeted that he had been told Cornyn “is open to making gun laws more restrictive.”
Cornyn responded by indicating the opposite. “Not gonna happen,” he wrote.
In a Senate floor speech on Monday, Cornyn touched on his negotiations with Sen. Murphy but emphasized that it was a Senate-wide discussion.
He added that he has been in contact “literally with everybody [he] can reach on the phone or get through text message to see if there’s some package of mental health and safety legislation that addresses some of the factors that might have prevented the recent shootings in Uvalde and elsewhere.”
The senator also made clear that he did not support expanded background checks and raising the age to purchase a firearm.
“Targeted reforms, I think, is the way to get to where we need to go,” Cornyn said.
The senator insisted there are limits to what members of the Republican party would support regarding gun laws.
“We are not talking about restricting the rights of current, law-abiding gun owners or citizens,” he said. “What I’m interested in is keeping guns out of the hands of those who, by current law, are not supposed to have them. People with mental health problems, people … who have criminal records.”
Paxton criticized Cornyn for being involved in pro-gun-control discussions at all.
“I’m not going to let them get away with it. I don’t care whether it’s the GOP senator from Texas, or who it is — we cannot let Cornyn or Mitch McConnell do this,” Paxton said.
The attorney general said Cornyn’s involvement in the talks was an example of “getting caught up in the D.C. political power struggle.”
“I would say, you have to speak out in every possible way and criticize this attempt by John Cornyn, Mitch McConnell, anybody — I don’t care which party they’re from,” Paxton told Salcedo.
Paxton and Cornyn have clashed in the past. Last month in the leadup to the May 24 runoff election, Cornyn blasted Paxton over the various legal troubles that have plagued him, including abuse-of-office allegations, calling them an “embarrassment.”