Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) on Friday urged his Republican colleagues to lean in on the looming debate over gun reforms, warning that if lawmakers couldn’t agree on “commonsense stuff” it could prompt stricter gun laws in the future.
Braun, asked what the Senate could do on gun reforms, said he and his colleagues need to have a “discussion” about ideas that are “commonsense in nature.”
“I look at it this way, if we’re not willing to do the commonsense stuff probably legislation will occur that we’ll regret that will actually I think will infringe upon Second Amendment rights down the road,” Braun told reporters after presiding over a brief session of the Senate.
“I think for those of us that want to always make sure that law-abiding citizens can own and bear and use a weapon, that we’ve got to talk about it and start doing some things or else I think we’ll get overwhelmed to where we’ll lose down the road that Second Amendment right,” Braun added, asked if he was concerned mass shootings were shifting support for the Second Amendment.
Braun’s comments come as Congress is set to return on Monday with a debate about potential gun reforms at the top of the agenda after nearly 40 people were killed during mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, Odessa, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
The House has already passed a universal background check bill but it’s expected to go nowhere in the Senate, where no GOP senator has endorsed it.
Republicans have proposed a hodgepodge of potential ideas, including expanding or strengthening background checks or incentivizing “red flag” laws, which make it easier for law enforcement or family members to temporarily block an individual from owning a gun.
Braun came out in support last month of pursuing bipartisan legislation, which he said needed to include “stronger background checks; red flag laws known as extreme risk protection orders that address mental illness; commonsense solutions.”
The freshman Republican touted “red flag” legislation while talking to reporters on Friday, noting that his state already had laws on the books.
“They actually work, they reduce suicides,” Braun said, about red flag laws. “And I think we need to focused background checks to where, again, we do what needs to be done so that guns don’t get into the wrong hands.”
He also noted that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) had called him to discuss background checks. A proposal from Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) would expand background checks to all commercial sales.
“I’m going to look at everything. I’m going to draw the line if it’s going to primarily impact law-abiding citizens,” Braun said, asked if he would support Manchin-Toomey.
Pressed on what sort of background checks he supported, Braun added: “I want to see where you could do background checks that are going to be focused on areas where we’ve seen, and got data, to where there have been loopholes, slips.”
“If you go to transactions between individuals it will blow up the whole process,” Braun said, in an apparent reference to the House bill, which would include private sales. “I’d want to look at existing background checks and to see where they need to be tightened up and then at least discuss what else you might do.”