WASHINGTON — Jeered at the Texas Republican convention for his role in Senate gun talks and drowned out by chants of “No red flags,” Sen. John Cornyn dismissed the booing GOP delegates as a “mob.”
That did not go over well with some gun owners. On Monday, one hard-line gun rights group demanded his apology for him “for mocking his law-abiding constituents.”
Cornyn had not responded to the demand as of Sunday evening.
“John Cornyn is the definition of a two-faced politician. He claims to support the Second Amendment, but is actually working to eviscerate our gun rights by cutting deals with anti-gun Democrats — and when his constituents publicly held him accountable, he called them a mob,” said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights.
The group claims 4.5 million members and is demanding that “gun-free” school zones be abolished, insisting that would be a better response to the Uvalde school rampage on May 24, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, than anything under consideration by the bipartisan group Cornyn has been working with.
“I will not under any circumstance support new restrictions for law-abiding gun owners,” Cornyn assured delegates to the state GOP convention Friday in Houston. “That will always be a red line. Despite what some of you may have heard, the framework that we are working on is consistent with that red line.”
But hard-liners view red flag laws as confiscation. Such laws are meant to keep guns away from people deemed to be a danger to themselves and others, typically by a judge.
Delegates rose to their feet flashing thumbs-down at the senator and shouting: “No red flags! No red flags!”
Shortly after his speech, Cornyn was overheard saying, “I’ve never given in to mobs and I’m not starting today.”
— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) June 17, 2022
That was according to a tweet from Scott Braddock, editor of the Austin political newsletter QuorumReport. Lest anyone doubt the accuracy, it was quickly retweeted by Cornyn himself.
The Senate negotiators released a bipartisan framework supported by Cornyn last week.
The deal is tentative and could still fall apart. There are no restrictions on assault-style or semi-automatic weapons, long a goal of Democrats.
Still, it would be the most far-reaching gun violence prevention measure in decades, with enhanced background of gun buyers under 21, tougher penalties for straw purchases and more funds for school security and mental health services.
It would also use federal funding to encourage states to implement red flag laws. Cornyn has dug in, seeking parity in federal funds for states that don’t have such laws.
Brown’s group bills itself as the largest “no-compromise” advocate for the Second Amendment, a dig at the NRA, which has long given Cornyn top grades for his efforts to curb regulation.
The NRA bona fides made Cornyn the natural pick as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s point man in bipartisan gun talks.