HOUSTON — U.S. Senator John Cornyn was greeted with loud boos from delegates at the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) convention, delaying his speech. The crowd was upset at the Texas senator’s involvement in negotiations to change gun laws.
Cornyn seemed surprised at the response from his party’s grassroots, but he defended the negotiated agreement on gun laws.
“I will not approve any restrictions for law-abiding gun owners, and that’s my red line. And despite what some of you may have heard, that’s what our plan does,” the senator said as the crowd continued booing loudly.
The plan would place more restrictions on gun purchasers under age 21, pay states to implement “red-flag” laws, and increase spending on mental health and school safety measures. However, the agreement has reportedly hit a snag in finalizing details.
The crowd’s attitude towards Cornyn did ease as he switched topics to touch on his opposition to the “Green New Deal,” abortion, critical race theory, and his disapproval of rising crime rates. Still, the delegates unleashed more loud boos at the conclusion of his speech.
Following Cornyn on stage was Attorney General Ken Paxton, who delivered a not-so-subtle attack on the senator.
“We have some Republicans who are trying to run from the fight [to preserve gun rights], and we need to remember their names next time they’re on the ballot,” Paxton said.
Cornyn is not up for reelection until 2026, as he won his last campaign in 2020.
Paxton also criticized Cornyn earlier this month, saying Texas “will be the first to sue” if the federal government passes legislation that “infringes on our Second Amendment Rights.”
Texas’ other Republican senator, Ted Cruz, who spoke before Cornyn, also made some pointed comments in his direction while affirming that more gun regulations were not the answer to preventing mass shootings.
“I give you my word, anyone that tries to take away our Second Amendment rights, I will stand and fight to defend our liberties,” said Cruz.
Delegates and elected officials were not the only ones to condemn Sen. Cornyn at the convention. The RPT’s Platform Committee unanimously approved a resolution Thursday night rebuking the gun law agreement and all 10 republicans involved in the negotiations.
The other Republicans working with Cornyn and the Democrats were Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
The resolution calls red-flag laws “a pre-crime punishment of people not adjudicated guilty.”
The full text of the resolution titled the “Resolution against the Gang of 20 Gun Control bill” reads:
“Whereas those under 21 are most likely to be victims of violent crime and thus most likely to need to defend themselves.
“Whereas ‘red flag laws’ violate one’s right to due process and are a pre-crime punishment of people not adjudicated guilty.
“Whereas waiting periods on gun purchases harm those who need to acquire the means of self-defense in emergencies such as riots.
“Whereas all gun control is a violation of the Second Amendment and our God-given rights.
“We reject the so-called ‘bipartisan gun agreement,’ and we rebuke Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).”
Cornyn has previously defended the agreement and its alignment with conservative priorities.
“I worked closely with my colleagues to find an agreement to protect our communities from violence while also protecting law-abiding Texans’ right to bear arms,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
His floor speech in the Senate last week emphasized a similar sentiment.
“We are not talking about restricting the rights of current, law-abiding gun owners or citizens,” Cornyn said on June 6. “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.”