Chris Murphy texted 'Are you serious?' to Kyrsten Sinema after she expressed interest in Senate gun reform talks: NYT

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Kyrsten Sinema
Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, right, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Chris Murphy wrote Kyrsten Sinema to see if she was interested in the gun reform talks, per the NYT.

  • After she replied that she was interested in negotiations, Murphy texted back: "Are you serious?"

  • Murphy has pushed for more gun control for years, but sidelined the more restrictive proposals.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut has long been one of the most forceful gun control advocates in Congress, seeking to forge consensus on an issue that for decades eluded lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

After 26 people, including 20 children, were killed in a 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown — a town in the congressional district that Murphy represented when he was a member of the House — the senator fought to tighten gun laws in a country where an aversion to such restrictions has become more entrenched in recent years.

However, after high-profile mass shootings at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Murphy knew he'd need a new approach to get anything passed in the evenly-divided Senate.

While Democrats would normally have come to the table pushing for an assault weapons ban and expansive background checks, the senator kept the math in his mind, according to The New York Times.

"I've got a pretty clear sense of what can get 60 votes," he told the newspaper.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a conservative who would not have accepted a broad assault weapons ban and other sweeping restrictions sought by Democrats, said the bipartisan negotiators truly wanted to advance legislation that could pass the upper chamber.

"There's a couple of ways to do things around here: One is if you want a result; the other is if you just want to make a political statement," he told The Times. "I think the Democrats wanted to get a result and we wanted to get a result, so this is what we came up with."

Murphy reached out to other Republicans like Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who had been involved in gun reform discussions in the past.

Per the Times, Murphy also reached out to Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who has stymied some of President Joe Biden's biggest domestic agenda items and steadfastly resisted calls to abolish the filibuster.

Sinema remarked in the press that she wanted to work with members of both parties to write a bill to address the issue of gun violence, especially as it related to schools, so Murphy texted the Arizona lawmaker to gauge her interest in the bipartisan talks, per The Times.

She told Murphy that she was interested.

"Are you serious?" Murphy responded, according to the report.

Sinema replied that she was indeed on board with gun reform talks.

The bill that was crafted in the Senate in June included funding for mental health services, school security, and crisis intervention programs, while also providing $750 million for states to enact and maintain red flag laws, among other provisions.

Congress eventually approved the legislation and it was signed into law by Biden on Saturday.

Read the original article on Business Insider