Warnock: Not passing gun legislation would lead to ‘moment of moral failure’

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Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said on Monday that he is hopeful the Senate will pass some form of legislation to curb gun violence, adding that not doing so would be a “moment of moral failure.”

Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) have led bipartisan negotiations among Senate lawmakers to come up with a framework that could get enough votes to pass the chamber after the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The framework in its current form would provide billions of dollars in mental health grants, strengthen background checks for people between the ages of 18 to 21 and restrict convicted domestic abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from buying guns.

The negotiations included 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed the framework last week, while President Biden has said he’s willing to sign any gun-related legislation that hits his desk.

“If we don’t get anything done this time, it will be a similar moment of moral failure on our behalf,” Warnock told The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. “It was suggested that the politics is more important than the people, and I just refuse to accept that premise.”

Capehart asked Warnock whether Biden’s low approval ratings concern the Georgia Democrat in his own reelection bid against former NFL player Herschel Walker.

Biden’s approval rating has dropped for its third straight week and is down to 39 percent as of a poll released on Friday. The White House seldom acknowledges the low poll numbers, but in an interview published by The Associated Press on Thursday, Biden acknowledged that “people are really, really down.”

“They’re really down,” Biden added. “The need for mental health in America, it has skyrocketed, because people have seen everything upset. Everything they’ve counted on upset. But most of it’s the consequence of what’s happened, what happened as a consequence of the COVID crisis.”

Warnock told Capehart he doesn’t “spend a lot of time thinking about those things” and that he’s working on other priorities, like capping the cost of insulin and pushing to suspend the federal gas tax and for “substantial” student debt cancellation.

Warnock said that instead of polls, he is more concerned about the way people approach politics.

“I’m worried that we have created a context right now where too much of the politics is about the politicians, where their poll numbers are, who’s up and who’s down, who’s in and who’s out,” Warnock said. “And as a result of that, we have no shortage of transactional politicians who are so focused on the next election that they’re not thinking about the next generation.”

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