Sen. John Cornyn Gets Heckled By Texas GOP Amid Gun Control Negotiations

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Sen. John Cornyn was booed Friday as he attempted to give a speech at the Republican Party of Texas’ 2022 Convention.

Cornyn, who has represented the state in the upper chamber since 2002, is currently negotiating a gun control and mental health package with Senate Democrats. Although the negotiating senators released a legislative framework on June 12, they have not introduced a bill and have reportedly hit a snag in negotiations over several provisions. (RELATED: Senators Aim To Pass Gun Control Bill By Fourth Of July)

As Cornyn attempted to deliver an address at the GOP convention, hecklers tried to drown him out and could be heard chanting, “no red flags, no red flags.” Red flag laws, or extreme risk protection orders, allow authorities to seek court orders for the purpose of temporarily seizing firearms from individuals believed to be at risk of harming themselves or others. Opponents argue that the orders can violate the constitutional rights of gun owners, and can be abused.

The Texas GOP’s permanent platform committee “rebuked” all ten GOP senators involved in the negotiations.

While Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed support for Cornyn’s efforts, some more conservative senators have spoken out against an agreement. Fellow Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has argued that gun control legislation does not work, and that Congress should increase funding for school security. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and eight other Republicans introduced legislation on June 9 that would establish a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for any individual that illegally possesses a firearm.

The negotiating group of 20 senators is reportedly struggling to produce legislative text related to red flag laws and the so-called boyfriend loophole. The framework released by the senators suggests that they will offer incentives for states to pass red flag laws, but Cornyn and other Republicans reportedly want the financial incentives to be available to states that create mental health initiatives instead.

The boyfriend loophole refers to a provision of federal law that prohibits individuals convicted of domestic abuse from owning guns if they are “married to, lived with, or have a child with the victim.” Democrats previously attempted to expand the ban earlier in 2022 when Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act, but Republicans objected, arguing that misdemeanor convictions should not disqualify prospective gun owners.