Every Senator Was Asked What Should Be Done About Gun Control. Here Are Their Responses

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In the wake of another school massacre in Texas that left 19 children and two adults dead, and a shooting days earlier at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10, a question echoed from homes across the country to the White House to Capitol Hill: What are we going to do?

Gun legislation has lagged through many sessions of Congress, though some states that have become unwilling homes to such tragedy have passed new laws following shootings in their own communities, addressing background checks for gun sales, red flag systems, and buy-back programs, among other changes.

In the wake of recent shootings, we asked every sitting U.S. senator: What action, if any, do you think should be taken on guns following the school shooting in Texas?

Here’s what they said.

TAMMY BALDWIN (D) WISCONSIN
Baldwin’s staff referred to a statement on Twitter.

“We cannot accept doing nothing every time this happens,” Baldwin wrote. “I support passing legislation in the Senate that puts in place universal background checks for all gun sales.” Baldwin has previously cosponsored legislation that would expand federal background checks, and she supports “red flag” legislation that would establish court procedures to prohibit certain people from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition.

JOHN BARRASSO (R) WYOMING
No response at publishing time.

MICHAEL BENNET (D) COLORADO
Bennet’s office provided this statement: “I’m heartbroken for the families of the 19 innocent children and 2 teachers murdered in Uvalde. We have endured too many tragedies like this as a country. We must do whatever we can to end the scourge of gun violence in America. The Senate must act.”

The office added that the senator supports measures such as background checks on gun sales and transfers and closing the Charleston loophole, which enables some firearms to be transferred by licensed gun dealers before the required background checks have been completed.

MARSHA BLACKBURN (R) TENNESSEE
A Blackburn spokesperson sent a statement on behalf of the senator: “We must take meaningful steps to protect our children and that begins with enhancing physical security at schools. There is already roughly $100 billion sitting in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund that can be used for this purpose. In addition, schools should have secured, limited entry points, and increased funding for school resource officers. School officials with prior military or law enforcement experience should be allowed to carry firearms. Finally, mental health must be taken seriously. We should improve access to resources and treatment for those suffering from mental illness.”

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D) CONNECTICUT
After this story was published, Blumenthal’s office pointed to the senator’s Tuesday floor speech, where he called for support on specific policies. “There are commonsense actions we can take to separate dangerous killers from firearms that are absolutely consistent with the Second Amendment, as judged by the Supreme Court, and absolutely consistent with gun ownership by law-abiding people. We know these actions won’t save everyone, but there can be no doubt that each of them will save some lives,” he said.

“Expanding background checks and closing glaring loopholes in our background check system. Getting untraceable ghost guns and military-style assault weapons off our streets. Protecting domestic violence survivors from gun violence. Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic terrorists and violent extremists and individuals who are a danger to themselves and others. Red flag statutes, preventing kids from accidentally and unintentionally shooting themselves with unsecured firearms, Ethan’s Law for safe storage. Investing in community violence intervention programs. We know they work in Hartford, New Haven, all around the state of Connecticut. Reducing the number of firearm suicides. More than half of all gun deaths are suicides. Red flag statutes separate firearms from people who are dangerous to themselves as well as others. We need to do all these things and more. We need to do them right now because every day that passes without action means more of the same. Not surprising, not stunning, more of the same.”

ROY BLUNT (R) MISSOURI
“No family should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to a horrific act of violence. As we learn more about the facts in this case, I’m open to looking at what we can do, in a bipartisan way, to prevent another tragedy like this from occurring. That might include the possibility of a red flag law to keep weapons out of the hands of people who pose an imminent threat to themselves or others. I have previously supported legislation that was signed into law to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. As the Republican leader on the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, I have worked with my colleagues to provide significant funding increases to enhance school safety and expand access to mental health support and research into gun violence. I’ve also worked with Senator Stabenow to create and expand the Excellence in Mental Health Program to increase mental health access and provide tools to crisis intervention officers. We need to continue working to ensure anyone who has a mental or behavioral health issue can get the treatment they need, when they need it.”

CORY BOOKER (D) NEW JERSEY
“This is the moment to enact meaningful, sweeping legislation — without it, we are fated to witness the horrors of Buffalo, Uvalde, and so many others over and over again. Inaction is not an option.

Last week I reintroduced the Federal Firearm Licensing Act, which is based on the simple concept that if you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun. Licensing laws are supported by over 75% of Americans and have been shown to reduce gun violence in states that enact them, including my home state of New Jersey. Other commonsense reforms, including universal background checks and implementing federal extreme risk protection order laws, also have broad popular support.

Republicans in Congress are hostage to the gun lobby and are putting power before the interests of our children, their constituents, the American people. It is unconscionable. We must hold them responsible for ignoring the will of the people and for the carnage that results from their inaction.”

JOHN BOOZMAN (R) ARKANSAS
No response at publishing time.

MIKE BRAUN (R) INDIANA
No response at publishing time.

SHERROD BROWN (D) OHIO
Brown’s office directed us to an earlier statement. “At least twenty-one more families are mourning the unimaginable loss today. Yet again, elementary school children are slain in a senseless act of violence, a community is grieving, and Americans are crying out for politicians to do something to keep our children safe. Politicians in Washington and Columbus have to stand up to the gun lobby. We don’t have to live like this. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and we have the power to stop it. I will continue pushing for commonsense gun safety legislation like background checks, and urge my colleagues to develop the backbone to stand up to gun lobbyists.”

RICHARD BURR (R) NORTH CAROLINA
No response at publishing time.

MARIA CANTWELL (D) WASHINGTON
Cantwell’s office referred to an earlier statement.

“Today [19] children and [2] teachers tragically lost their lives in yet another preventable mass shooting. Far too many Americans have experienced the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. It’s long past time for action. The majority of Americans support common-sense measures to combat gun violence such as background checks and red flag laws. I call on my colleagues to finally come together to pass legislation that will save lives.”

SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R) WEST VIRGINIA
No response at publishing time.

BEN CARDIN (D) MARYLAND
A spokesperson for Cardin directed to this statement from the senator: “How many children have to die before enough is enough? My thoughts are with the victims and their families, but words and prayers are insufficient. Doing nothing about the epidemic of guns across this country is killing our children. We must work together to translate our grief into collective action. Congress and lawmakers at every level of government must make changes to ensure our neighborhoods are safer for every American, regardless of who they are or where they live. We must break through the gridlock and finally do something that will save lives.”

In addition, Cardin, days before the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, laid out in a letter to constituents what measures he’d like Congress to pass to prevent future gun violence. in reaction to the gunman’s May 14 racist attack on a Buffalo, New York, grocery store. Among the measures Cardin listed: legislation that combats the rise of domestic terrorism and “commonsense” gun safety legislation, including strengthened background checks.

TOM CARPER (D) DELAWARE
After this story was published, Carper’s office pointed to a statement released after the Uvalde shooting and a Wednesday speech on the Senate floor, where Carper said: “I refuse to believe that Congress can’t reform our gun laws in a way that the American public broadly supports. I refuse to believe that changing our laws won’t reduce gun violence and make these tragedies less likely from reoccurring in the future. We are long overdue to make commonsense reforms to our nation’s gun laws.”

BOB CASEY JR. (D) PENNSYLVANIA
“This is a problem in the senate of one side. And you have to ask, why is that? And it’s not simply that you have so many Republicans that are beholden to the gun lobby. That’s obvious. The other problem is, and I think it’s related to the power of the gun lobby in one party, that seems to want to surrender to this problem, to throw up our hands and ‘say there’s nothing the most powerful nation in the world can do.’ This is a uniquely American problem. No other country that is similarly situated, that has an economy like ours as a country, even close to what we have, no other country has this problem. And any kind of change or reform or action is being blocked by one side.”

BILL CASSIDY (R) LOUISIANA
A spokesperson for Cassidy referred to a tweet by the senator: “Our hearts are with the families in Texas. We owe it to these families to find answers to prevent these events. Real answers that will work. God be with those affected.”

SUSAN COLLINS (R) MAINE
A spokesperson for Collins sent this statement from the senator issued on Monday: “Although we are still waiting for more details, it is hard to believe that someone who would do this was not severely mentally ill. Congress should look at enacting a yellow flag law based on the one we have in Maine, which has due process rights and also involves a medical professional in the decision.”

CHRIS COONS (D) DELAWARE
Coons’ office referred to an earlier statement: “We have to make it harder for individuals to get access to weapons who have demonstrated the capacity, or the potential, to use them to harm themselves and their families. And we have to do more to address gun violence. Every week in my hometown, and in home cities, and communities all over this country, gun violence takes lives in communities of all types and all backgrounds and we cannot become numb to this.”

JOHN CORNYN (R) TEXAS
No response at publishing time.

TOM COTTON (R) ARKANSAS
No response at publishing time.

KEVIN CRAMER (R) NORTH DAKOTA
Cramer’s office pointed to interviews he has done over the years on guns.

MIKE CRAPO (R) IDAHO
No response at publishing time.

TED CRUZ (R) TEXAS
No response at publishing time.

STEVE DAINES (R) MONTANA
No response at publishing time.

TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D) ILLINOIS
Duckworth’s office pointed to a statement the senator issued the night of the shooting: “What happened in Texas today is every parent’s nightmare. I’m heartbroken for these families and angry as hell at Republicans’ shameless inaction to save the lives of innocent children. We know how to stop these attacks from happening as often as they do. We know there will be another and another and another attack in the weeks and months ahead if we do nothing. And we know who is preventing action. The Senate should immediately—at a 50-vote threshold—vote on commonsense gun safety reforms that the American people have demanded for too long. For every victim of this tragedy and every tragedy before it, enough must be enough.”

DICK DURBIN (D) ILLINOIS
Durbin’s office referred to an earlier statement, where the senator said that the Senate should take up and pass the House-passed HR8, or the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, and the House-passed HR 1446, or the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021.

JONI ERNST (R) IOWA
No response at publishing time.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D) CALIFORNIA
Feinstein’s office referred to an earlier statement she made likening the Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, shootings: “In fewer than 10 days, two mass shootings by 18-year-olds left 31 people dead. Both these teenage shooters would have been turned away at a bar. But they were able to walk into gun stores and legally purchase one of the most deadly weapons available, weapons that have no place on our streets, in our grocery stores or in our schools. This is unconscionable. Pass the Age 21 Act now.”

DEB FISCHER (R) NEBRASKA
No response at publishing time.

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D) NEW YORK
Gillibrand’s office pointed to an earlier statement. “The level of death and violence we’ve seen over the last several years is unconscionable. The United States is not an outlier when it comes to mental health issues — where we are the outlier is having incredibly easy access to deadly weapons meant to kill large numbers of people. We have to take control of this issue, and I don’t think there’s any legitimate argument that this is not the time to act. Military-style weapons shouldn’t be publicly available for purchase, period. Our militaries are trained extensively to use these weapons, and they’re solely designed to kill large numbers of people, quickly. You can’t just buy a tank or a handheld rocket launcher, because they are designed for one circumstance — to destroy an enemy in combat. They’re not built for hunting. While I do support Senator Feinstein’s bill, the Age 21 Act, which would raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines from 18 to 21, my real hope is that we can have the sense to ban civilians’ access to these weapons. I believe the Senate can work together to find common ground on both universal background checks and a ban on military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. I believe we should vote on Senator Murphy’s Background Check Expansion Act so that we know where people stand, on the record. My federal anti-gun trafficking bill, the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act, would make gun trafficking a federal crime to help keep guns off our streets and out of the hands of those who would not be allowed to buy them legally. I welcome and encourage debate between Republicans and Democrats on these commonsense bills in the weeks to come.”

LINDSEY GRAHAM (R) SOUTH CAROLINA
Graham’s office referred to the senator’s tweet: “I welcome a debate in the U.S. Senate about any and all measures that my colleagues believe will have an effect. Let’s debate and vote.”

CHUCK GRASSLEY (R) IOWA
Taylor Foy, Grassley’s communications director, said in an email that the senator has been working on the EAGLES Act, “which would expand the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) with a greater focus on school violence prevention.” The bill, which has bipartisan support in Congress, would also establish an initiative that focuses on school violence prevention and expands research on school violence, Foy added.

The EAGLES Act is named after the mascot of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parland, Florida. The school was the site of a 2018 mass shooting, where a gunman killed 17 people.

On Twitter, following the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Grassley said the killings are “sickening &heartbreaking” and that schools should be a “safe place for students/educators.” He also said that he’ll continue to push Congress to pass the EAGLES Act.

BILL HAGERTY (R) TENNESSEE
“Our children should never live in fear. Period. This unspeakable tragedy in Uvalde is heartbreaking, and I share the anger and concern of parents who want to find solutions to protect our most vulnerable. We must consider what we can do to prevent future senseless massacres like this from occurring, including properly hardening soft targets like schools, which evil killers often choose based on their vulnerability. We must ensure that mental health issues are taken seriously and that adequate treatment is available in urban and rural areas. We should implement other best practices at the state and local levels and make sure schools have the tools they need to protect students. But to be clear: using this horror to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens—before we even know what might have prevented this tragedy—and accusing anyone who disagrees of being complicit in this abhorrent crime is not a solution that will make us safer. Criminals and mass murderers will ignore any new gun-control law just as they ignore the strict gun control laws in our nation’s most violent cities.”

MAGGIE HASSAN (D) NEW HAMPSHIRE
A spokesman for Hassan gave the following statement for the senator: “The news out of Texas is every parent’s worst nightmare, and I am praying for the children, their families, and the Uvalde community … I, like so many, cannot understand how we as a country allow this to keep happening at our schools, at grocery stores, at churches, and so many other places where everyone should feel safe. We owe it to our kids, families, and survivors to take action.”

JOSH HAWLEY (R) MISSOURI
“The loss of life in Uvalde, Texas is heartbreaking. As parents, Erin and I stand in prayer with those who have suffered the unimaginable, the loss of a child. As a public official, I believe the time has come to increase penalties for violent crimes and crimes committed with firearms. We must also fully fund our police and local law enforcement and give them the resources they need to keep our kids safe.”

MARTIN HEINRICH (D) NEW MEXICO
“It is unconscionable that this nightmare of mass atrocity and incomprehensible acts of violence persists unfettered. There are many actions that we can take that would have a meaningful impact without violating the Second Amendment. We just need some Republican partners who care more about school children than their NRA ‘score.’

As a father and a responsible gun owner, my commitment to fighting for real solutions to reduce gun violence in our communities is unwavering. I will consider any bill that actually keeps firearms out of the hands of those who want to do us harm. That is why I support expanding background checks to all commercial firearms sales, limiting magazine capacity, and a ban on assault weapons. The bottom line is that the American people deserve meaningful action from Congress. Inaction is not an option.”

JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D) COLORADO
Hickenlooper’s office referred to an earlier statement: “We’re approaching the 10th anniversary of the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting where 70 people were injured and 12 murdered on an ordinary night at the movies. One year ago, 10 more Coloradans were killed while shopping for groceries. A white supremacist targeted another supermarket just days ago in Buffalo, New York. And today, children slaughtered in Texas. How many shootings are enough before we stop terrorizing our children and our families?”

A spokesman for Hickenlooper also gave the following statement for the senator: “On policy, he’s a cosponsor of the Background Check Expansion Act, the Assault Weapons Ban, and supports red flag laws and banning high capacity magazines.”

MAZIE HIRONO (D) HAWAII
“I’m horrified and heartbroken for the Uvalde community and our nation. It’s been nearly 10 years since Sandy Hook, and still, our children are getting gunned down in our schools. We cannot wait any longer to pass the common-sense gun safety bills already passed in the House, which would expand background checks and help prevent senseless murders. Democrats have been fighting to get this done for years. Eliminating the filibuster and electing more Democrats will help us finally do so. What is it going to take for Republicans to find the basic humanity to help us end this nightmare?”

JOHN HOEVEN (R) NORTH DAKOTA
No response at publishing time.

CINDY HYDE-SMITH (R) MISSISSIPPI
No response at publishing time.

JIM INHOFE (R) OKLAHOMA
No response at publishing time.

RONALD JOHNSON (R) WISCONSIN
Johnson asked Senators to take up his bill, the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, which establishes a Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety, designed to provide recommendations and best practices on school security for parents and educators, and provide information about grants and resources that can be used to implement those practices. The clearinghouse, which was set up by the previous administration, is operating; the bill would ensure it continues to exist.

“It’s a good idea. it could save lives. It is an action, when people are calling for action following this tragedy,” Johnson said in a speech Wednesday on the Senate floor.

“As Chairman of Homeland Security, I passed over 300 pieces of legislation out of committee, over 130 of those became law. Very few of those, almost none, were partisan in any way, shape, or form. The approach I used to have that kind of legislative success is rather than focus on issues that divide us, I concentrated on the areas of agreement. Today, I brought to the Senate floor a nonpartisan bill, a bill crafted by the parents — the parents — who lost their sons in one of these horrific tragedies. It passed our committee twice unanimously. Those parents asked me to come today to please pass this bill, take some action, provide some comfort to all the parents that are grieving, to a nation that is grieving. So I came to the floor today, and I will not engage in partisanship other than to say it is just sad — it is just sad that this body can’t pass this bill.”

TIM KAINE (D) VIRGINIA
Kaine’s office pointed to a statement from a press conference earlier Wednesday. “Mark Warner and I have a bill that basically just took the bills that the Virginia General Assembly passed. And we call it the Virginia Plan, and we’ve introduced it in Congress. And that’s background record checks, to make sure that somebody getting a weapon is legally authorized to obtain it. That little tighter scrutiny of weapons sold to folks who have been involved in domestic violence or have issues where they’ve been adjudicated, mentally ill, and dangerous to others. I support limitations on the size of magazines in these weapons. Somebody with a gun that has a limited magazine can do a lot of damage, but oftentimes what you find is, as they’re reloading, that’s when law enforcement or others can stop them. And I think limiting the size of magazines that can be sold or used in a weapon. Again, won’t eliminate these instances completely, but it will reduce the number of deaths. I would support a ban on assault weapons. Also, why should an 18-year-old be able to buy weapons of this lethality and ammunition in the quantity that he purchased? … If you just could do one thing, the one thing that would likely do the most good would be comprehensive background checks. A working comprehensive background check system would have meant that Seung Hui Cho would not have been able to get the weapons that he used to kill people at Virginia Tech. And in many instances, that’s the case, so there are policies that work. Virginia’s “one handgun a month” policy worked for many years until the governor who followed me scrapped it. I’m glad the Virginia Legislature has restored it. It reduced purchases of mass quantities of guns in Virginia that were then being shipped around and used in crimes everywhere else. So there are strategies that work.”

MARK KELLY (D) ARIZONA
No response at publishing time.

JOHN KENNEDY (R) LOUISIANA
No response at publishing time.

ANGUS KING (I) MAINE
No response at publishing time.

AMY KLOBUCHAR (D) MINNESOTA
“This news is devastating. As a mother I cannot fathom the grief of the parents who lost children or the fear of those who are waiting in hospitals with children who were injured. My heart breaks for the entire Robb Elementary community,” Klobuchar said in a statement after this story was published.

“It has been nearly a decade since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and yet federal gun safety legislation has been repeatedly blocked.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Only action will begin to solve this deadly crisis.”

JAMES LANKFORD (R) OKLAHOMA
No response at publishing time.

PATRICK LEAHY (D) VERMONT
Leahy referred to a statement released early Wednesday.

“Gun violence is an epidemic that cannot be overstated. It cannot be ignored. It cannot be hidden behind the guise of an unassailable Second Amendment argument.

Yet another mass shooting. Yet another round of empty “thoughts and prayers” from some in Congress. When will this end? When will we confront the fact that we are the only civilized nation on Earth that watches our citizens — our children — gunned down and does nothing to prevent it from happening again? I am not politicizing this moment. I am not overreacting. I am angry. Angry that 19 more children, and two adults fighting to protect them, have been murdered. I am angry that today, Congress is willing to just accept that these mass shootings are just another breaking news story, and part of our daily lives.

I have owned firearms, responsibly, my entire life. I support a strong Second Amendment. But simple common sense, and what should be our shared humanity, compel us to not simply quietly acknowledge this crisis, but to do something about it. Nearly 10 years ago, a murderer took the lives of 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook. I led the Senate Judiciary Committee’s action to advance legislation to help address the epidemic of gun violence. Over two years ago, as then Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I worked to break through the years long refusal to provide the CDC and the NIH with resources to simply study the roots of gun violence. We need more action! Not next week, not next month, not next year — now! How many more people will die before we say enough is enough. I am saying it today — enough.”

MIKE LEE (R) UTAH
No response at publishing time.

BEN RAY LUJÁN (D) NEW MEXICO
Adán Serna, a spokesperson for the senator, said: “Throughout his time in both the House and the Senate, Senator Luján has a long history of supporting gun safety legislation to save lives. The Senator has been clear that he supports eliminating the filibuster to pass critical legislation for the American people.”

Serna also pointed the NewsHour to an earlier statement from Luján on Twitter. “After each mass shooting, the GOP distracts from the real issue & points to mental health. We’re no worse in mental health rates than any other nation. 90% of the country want background checks & 85% want red-flag laws. Right now we need to abolish the filibuster & pass H.R. 8.”

CYNTHIA LUMMIS (R) WYOMING
No response at publishing time.

JOE MANCHIN (D) WEST VIRGINIA
“Something has to be done. I’m the first to say that,” Manchin said in a press gaggle May 25, noting he had three grandchildren in the age group of those killed at Robb Elementary School. “To think that innocent children would be just slaughtered. It is beyond my conception that this can happen in the United States of America.”

“We have to reach across the bench, but we can’t politicize it. It has to be done in such a practical way that just makes sense. We have Democrats and Republicans who have had different ideas, some good legislation. I’ve been working on Manchin-Toomey for many, many years. But there’s other senators, too, on the Republican side that had some ideas to put into one good holistic type of piece of legislation. And everybody talks about, ‘Oh, you can’t get this or you can’t get that or get rid of the filibuster here or do this.’ If we can’t get 70 or 75 senators that won’t vote for the common sense protection of your children and grandchildren, what in the world are you here for? What’s your purpose for being in the United States Senate if it’s not at least to protect the children? … Background checks is something that doesn’t infringe. It is common sense to gun owners. I come from a gun state, as you know. It’s common sense. We’ve talked about that. We’ve talked about the red flag. It’s worked. It’s worked in states such as Florida. It’s been very effective. There’s good things. Mental illness. We’ve talked about what we can do to identify and make sure that we’re sharing this information. There’s a lot of solid things that will work, and we need to look at those and basically get a piece of legislation that we know that we can show that we can be united to protect our children.”

EDWARD MARKEY (D) MASSACHUSETTS
A spokesperson for Markey emailed this publication a statement from the senator: “Congress has a moral responsibility to these children and to the families of every victim of gun violence to pass gun safety legislation now, even if it means abolishing the filibuster. Congress should pass the MASS Act to incentivize states to adopt gun-licensing standards similar to those proven effective in Massachusetts, like requiring police chiefs to approve firearms licenses, a process that can include an in-person interview, and allowing them to revoke or suspend licenses. Congress must also pass legislation requiring universal background checks, a proposal that’s supported by the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans and gun owners. While Republicans in Congress continue to obstruct progress and stand in the way of Americans’ safety, we need to use every tool at our disposal, which is why I’ve also called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the role that gun manufacturers and producers play in our country’s gun violence epidemic, like the marketing of assault rifles to kids.”

ROGER MARSHALL (R) KANSAS
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy, and I condemn all violence. I’m personally devastated to hear of the young lives lost and I will mourn for the loss of these precious lives and mourn with all the families going through this incredibly difficult time,” said Marshall in an emailed statement. “Law enforcement officials in Texas are working around the clock to get to the bottom of this tragedy. They have my full support as they investigate this evil attack and gather all the facts.”

A spokesperson also said that Marshall has supported strengthening background checks, “introduced legislation that would encourage responsible gun ownership by offering tax incentives to Americans who take firearm safety courses and invest in securing their firearms,” and “would like to see more funding provided to help harden more schools throughout Kansas.”

CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTRO (D) NEVADA
A spokesman for Masto gave the following statement for the senator: “As Nevada’s former Attorney General and a gun owner, Senator Cortez Masto has worked with law enforcement officials and crime experts on legislation that will uphold the Second Amendment and keep Nevadans safe. Senator Cortez Masto has worked in the Senate on legislation to implement universal background checks. She agrees with law enforcement officials and crime experts who say red flag laws will help protect Nevadans, especially victims of domestic violence, who are five times more likely to be murdered when their abusers have a gun, and supports federal red flag laws.“

MITCH MCCONNELL (R) KENTUCKY
No response at publishing time.

BOB MENENDEZ (D) NEW JERSEY
“Every mass shooting is the result of a policy failure. Guns — especially assault weapons equipped with high capacity magazines — don’t belong in our communities, and in no circumstances should those who seek to do harm with such weapons have greater rights than the nation’s children to whom we have a precious obligation to protect. While our thoughts and prayers are with each one of the families that are grieving this unimaginable loss, we must go beyond and take action. Every day that goes by without commonsense gun reform is a setback in our ability to promote American virtue and values to the rest of the world.”

JEFF MERKLEY (D) OREGON
“The epidemic of gun violence in America is ripping our communities apart, slaughtering our children, elders, families, friends, and beloved community members. Our immense grief and anger over yet another mass shooting is unbearable, but it must be turned into action. Failure to enact meaningful, commonsense gun safety reform now will lead to more lives lost and communities devastated. We have a moral obligation to break this cycle of violence.

First, in order to address gun violence, we have to address that the Senate is a broken institution. We must reform the filibuster so critical gun safety bills have a pathway to be debated, voted on, passed, and signed into law. We must take immediate steps to improve our background check system, raise the age requirement for the purchase of guns, limit the capacity of ammunition magazines, and renew the federal ban on military-style assault weapons. And we’ve got to ban untraceable, undetectable ghost guns that can be made at home, which we can do by requiring online and other sellers of gun-making kits to comply with federal firearm safety regulations.

We must also firmly oppose legislation that makes our epidemic of violent gun-related murders worse, like a bill that would essentially require all states to accept the lowest standard for concealed carry. This bill would preempt individual state laws, ignore safety training, and undermine the right of each state to determine its own standards. We should make gun manufacturers liable when their negligence results in their products shattering the lives of our families and friends, just like every other company in America.

This is all obvious. We don’t need a magic technology or policy innovation, we just need a basic measure of human decency and compassion for school children in Uvalde whose last moments were full of terror, their classmates who will be forever traumatized by what they saw, their parents living through unspeakable grief, and the hundreds of thousands of other Americans whose lives are wrecked by this plague. Look those parents in the eye and do the right thing.

I want to be clear—it’s obvious, it’s common sense, but none of this will be easy. The gun industry has long had an iron grip over a sizable chunk of the Senate. It’s going to take all of us from the ground up to say enough is enough, including all federal agencies that can help. This should be a top priority for every arm of government from the Justice Department, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, to health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is thankfully now involved in stopping gun violence. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have fought to break a 20-year ban on federal funding for gun safety studies, and helped secure millions of dollars in funding to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health to study gun violence as a public health measure. But clearly, we need more—including a Senate-confirmed Director of ATF, which I hope the Senate will vote to confirm in the coming weeks.

I will continue to fight to reform the filibuster and pass essential gun safety reform measures, because—as we have seen time and time again and were starkly reminded yesterday—American lives depend on it.”

JERRY MORAN (R) KANSAS
No response at publishing time.

LISA MURKOWSKI (R) ALASKA
No response at publishing time.

CHRIS MURPHY (D) CONNECTICUT
In an interview on Wednesday, Murphy said: “We are talking about minor expansions of background checks. Getting more sales through the background check system. We are talking about red flag laws. These are the laws that will allow you to take weapons away from people showing signs of breaks with reality or showing signs of future violence. Those are the kind of things we might be able to find 60 votes on. We’ll see. We will work at it in the next several days.”

PATTY MURRAY (D) WASHINGTON
Murray’s office pointed to the senator’s statement on the Senate floor.

“Some Republicans will say ‘well, this is a mental health issue.’ So let me be clear: America is facing a mental health and substance use disorder crisis. It is serious. It requires urgency. And I’m actively working on bipartisan legislation to expand access to prevention and treatment and recovery services. But I want to make this plain. The majority of people with mental illness do not commit violence against others. Treating gun violence as a mental health issue, rather than a gun issue, will never get us to the root cause of these horrific shootings. If we want to get at the heart of really stopping gun violence, I beg my colleagues to pull their heads out of the sand. And finally start talking about what can really address this crisis of gun violence. Common sense gun safety legislation, and there is no getting around it, universal background checks, and the assault weapons ban. Now, I’m ready to work with any Republican to make any kind of meaningful progress here. States like mine have made good progress on gun safety measures to keep our community safe. But we cannot count on a patchwork of laws where one state requires background checks, and another one right next door does not. We need federal action. We need to get something done. To my constituents in Washington State and the American people, I know and understand it can be disheartening to parents around the country to see the continued Republican obstruction on gun safety in Congress. Change is not easy. But let me be clear, doing nothing and letting this continue to happen is the most extreme option on the table. I’ve come to the floor of the Senate countless times, to call for action to keep our kids and our families safe from gun violence, just to have Republicans block our efforts again and again. It is frustrating. It is infuriating. But I will keep pushing for gun safety laws that the majority of Americans do support because we cannot give up.”

JON OSSOFF (D) GEORGIA
Ossoff’s office referred to an earlier statement: “The cruelty and the barbarity of an attack on beautiful little children like this is unspeakable. And we need to change. We have to reform our laws to keep weapons out of the hands of killers. And we have to heal our national soul so that this doesn’t keep happening and can never feel routine; this is not routine. And I know the Prime Minister after the tragic massacre in Christchurch, demonstrated the kind of leadership that we need to see in this country right now. I’m probably the only member of the Senate who grew up during a time when these kinds of attacks in schools were routine. We cannot let this be what passes for normal in America.”

ALEX PADILLA (D) CALIFORNIA
Padilla’s office referred the NewsHour to an earlier statement: “No other developed country has to deal with this, but we do. Now some folks suggest that arming teachers or providing more armed presence on school campuses will make them safer. If more guns were the answer, the United States would be the safest nation in the world. But it’s not the case.”

RAND PAUL (R) KENTUCKY
“Kelley and I are horrified by this senseless massacre. Our prayers go out to the victims and their families.”

GARY PETERS (D) MICHIGAN
“I am absolutely heartbroken over the senseless loss of life in Uvalde, Texas. These were children with their whole lives ahead of them and teachers who dedicated their lives to others. They should have all come home safely last night.

We cannot accept these repeated shootings as a normal occurrence in our country, and we cannot let politics stop us from taking action. There are commonsense gun safety measures supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, and the Senate must start by passing bipartisan legislation that advanced out of the House to strengthen background checks.”

A spokesperson for Peters’ office said the senator has supported recent legislation to strengthen background checks – the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act – that passed the House last year.”

ROB PORTMAN (R) OHIO
No response at publishing time.

JACK REED (D) RHODE ISLAND
Reed’s press secretary, Chip Unruh, said: “For years, Senator Reed has urged Congress to prevent repeated mass shootings by voting to strengthen background checks, enact his bipartisan ‘red flag’ proposal that would help keep guns out of the hands of unstable people, ban assault rifles and repeal the law that grants gun makers and sellers immunity from lawsuits to enhance accountability.”

JIM RISCH (R) IDAHO
No response at publishing time.

MITT ROMNEY (R) UTAH
Romney’s office referred to an earlier statement: “Background checks and updating our background check technology is something that I think is an appropriate federal responsibility. I’ll be looking at Toomey-Manchin and seeing how that would apply and whether or not I could support that or whether there might be some amendments to that that would make it more acceptable. I also think that red flag laws make a lot of sense. I think states are wise to adopt those. I think they’d have to be effectively administered at the state level.”

JACKY ROSEN (D) NEVADA
Rosen’s office updated its provided Tweet to provide this statement after publishing: “Senator Rosen supports a number of commonsense policy solutions at the federal level that would help reduce gun violence and increase public safety. She supports measures to expand background checks and close dangerous loopholes to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands. She also supports efforts to pass red flag laws, limit high-capacity magazines, and ban the continued sale of assault weapons.”

MIKE ROUNDS (R) SOUTH DAKOTA
No response at publishing time.

MARCO RUBIO (R) FLORIDA
Rubio’s office referred the NewsHour to a tweet from the senator: “The horrific tragedy in Texas should spur Congress to act on proposals that can pass & actually make a difference like our bipartisan Luke & Alex School Safety Act #SafeSchoolsForAll”

BERNIE SANDERS (I) VERMONT
Sanders’ office pointed to earlier tweets.

“Enough is enough. We must abolish the filibuster and pass gun safety legislation NOW. No one in America needs an AR-15. How many more children, mothers, and fathers need to be murdered in cold blood before the Senate has the guts to ban assault weapons and take on the NRA?”

“The horrific rampage in TX once again makes clear that there are some very sick people in this country with guns in their hands who should not have them. Congress may not be able to end this problem, but we must at least pass commonsense gun reforms to finally protect the public.”

BEN SASSE (R) NEBRASKA
No response at publishing time.

BRIAN SCHATZ (D) HAWAII
No response at publishing time.

CHUCK SCHUMER (D) NEW YORK
No response at publishing time.

RICK SCOTT (R) FLORIDA
Scott’s office referred to an earlier statement: “No community should feel the pain that families in Parkland and Uvalde now feel. We’ll never be able to prevent every vicious crime, but we can and must act. There are solutions to be found at the state level, and the federal level – and today we can take action in the Senate to make our schools safer. I want to thank Senator Johnson for leading this bill, and Senator Rubio for his strong support of this legislation and other efforts to keep our kids safe. This bill – the Luke and Alex School Safety Act – is named in honor of Luke Hoyer and Alex Schachter. Luke and Alex were taken from us in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Since that horrible day, I’ve worked closely with many of the victims’ family members as Governor and now as Senator to do everything possible so that no child, educator, or family has to experience that again. There is clearly more work to do. This legislation, the Luke and Alex School Safety Act, codifies a federal school safety clearinghouse. By informing parents and educators on expert recommendations and best practices that schools can implement to improve school security, this bill builds on our work to keep schools safe and prevent another tragedy.”

TIM SCOTT (R) SOUTH CAROLINA
No response at publishing time.

JEANNE SHAHEEN (D) NEW HAMPSHRE
Shaheen’s office referred to a tweet from the senator: “I can’t find the words for the horror and pain affected families must be experiencing. My thoughts are with them and the Uvalde community. The mass shootings status quo in America cannot stand. We need common-sense gun laws now.” Another tweet added: “@POTUS is right: it is time to turn pain into action. Our families deserve better than leaders more beholden to the gun lobby than to protecting our kids. Congress must not accept or be complicit with allowing this gun violence to go on. We need common-sense gun reform now.”

RICHARD SHELBY (R) ALABAMA
No response at publishing time.

KYRSTEN SINEMA (D) ARIZONA
Sinema’s office referred to an earlier statement: “People at home, all across America, are just scared. They want us to do something. And so I’m going to start having conversations again with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to determine whether or not there’s something we can actually do to help increase safety and protect kids across this country.

There are some things we can do. There’s some shared agreement on red flags which I think might be a place to start conversations to actually get something done that would make a difference to people.”

TINA SMITH (D) MINNESOTA
“I am angry and heartbroken. Nineteen children and two adults were murdered in Texas this week. The nightmare of this shooting would be awful by itself, except this happens in America all the time. It’s not enough to simply send our thoughts and prayers when there are things that the United States Senate could do right now to make it harder for violent people to get their hands on assault rifles. We need to enact commonsense reforms like passing laws that would extend background checks to people who are trying to buy guns on the internet or at gun shows. But the reality is there does not appear to be a single Republican senator who is willing to do the right thing. An overwhelming majority of Americans want commonsense gun reforms and yet for years Republican Senators have been blocking gun safety legislation. There will be a price to pay for that.”

DEBBIE STABENOW (D) MICHIGAN
Stabenow’s office pointed to her statements from the Senate floor Wednesday, where she acknowledged the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, saying, “We don’t have to live in a situation where people are afraid to go to their place of worship, afraid to go to the grocery store, afraid to just live because of a shooting where someone got a hold of a gun, a military assault weapon or didn’t have to go through a background check.”

“We don’t have to live like this,” she added. “How many Republicans will join us to save children’s lives from gun violence? How many?”

Stabenow said that Schumer has put two bills related to background checks – that she has co-sponsored – on the Senate calendar. She then appealed to Senate Republicans and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“We can do better than this. Because if not now, what is the number? I’d like to ask Leader McConnell, ‘what is the number?’ How many children will he describe and sympathy will he show for dead children on the floor of the U.S. Senate before it’s enough. How many?” the senator asked. “When is it enough?”

DANIEL S. SULLIVAN (R) ALASKA
A spokesperson for Sullivan directed to a tweet by the senator: “At the heart of these evil acts is a sickness threatening our nation. The common theme of almost all of these mass shootings is the social alienation of sick young men, often fueled by social media.

“In that regard, I believe our nation is in the initial stages of a severe mental health crisis manifesting in the worst ways imaginable, especially among our youth. The causes are multifaceted, and I am deeply committed to understanding and addressing this crisis.”

JON TESTER (D) MONTANA
Tester’soffice referred the NewsHour to a tweet from the senator: “Heartbroken to hear of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Sharla and I grieve for these children and their families, and we’re sending prayers and strength to those injured. This is senseless and sickening, and it’s got to end.”

JOHN THUNE (R) SOUTH DAKOTA
No response at publishing time.

THOM TILLIS (R) NORTH CAROLINA
No response at publishing time.

PAT TOOMEY (R) PENNSYLVANIA
A Toomey spokeswoman said: “Senator Toomey has repeatedly worked on legislation to keep guns out of the hands of known criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. It is possible to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. The Senator remains committed to achieving this goal, and he is ready and willing to work with anyone on either side of the aisle to accomplish it.”

TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R) ALABAMA
No response at publishing time.

CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D) MARYLAND
“As a father, I can only imagine the crushing pain experienced by these parents in Texas. As a lawmaker, I am deeply angered by the shameful refusal of my GOP colleagues to take action to end the horror of the status quo,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “We must ensure reliable access to robust mental health services AND enact common-sense gun laws – measures we know have the support of the overwhelming majority of the American people — to better protect our communities from these acts of pure evil. I refuse to accept this status quo, and no American should tolerate it.”

MARK WARNER (D) VIRGINIA
“Gun violence has taken far too many lives all across America. Last year, my colleague from Virginia and I introduced legislation based on a series of commonsense measures adopted by Virginia to curb gun violence. I think our Virginia Plan would be a good place to start. This legislation would bring about universal background checks, put in place limits on the number of handguns that can be purchased per month, and improve reporting of lost or stolen firearms. It would also curb firearm access to minors, close the ‘boyfriend loophole’, and establish a federal extreme risk protection order process to temporarily remove firearms from high-risk individuals. I will continue pushing my colleagues to take action to prevent yet another tragedy.”

RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D) GEORGIA
No response at publishing time.

ELIZABETH WARREN (D) MASSACHUSETTS
A spokesperson for Warren directed to an earlier tweet by the senator: “It’s heartbreaking and sickening how routine mass shootings have become in America. Fourteen babies and a teacher. My heart goes out to all the families in Uvalde, Texas, whose lives were shattered. The Senate must pass gun safety legislation and protect our children.”

SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D) RHODE ISLAND
“One, we must pass common-sense gun safety measures, including universal background checks and high-capacity magazine, ghost gun and assault weapons bans. Two, we need to understand the role of dark money in giving the NRA its dark power, and pass the DISCLOSE Act, so that Congress begins responding to the American people not secretive gun lobby donors.”

ROGER WICKER (R) MISSISSIPPI
“This attack was abhorrent. I stand behind efforts to enforce our existing laws better and address the serious mental challenges that could drive a person to target children in this way. I’m committed to exploring bipartisan solutions that can help address gun violence without infringing upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

RON WYDEN (D) OREGON
“Senate Republicans need to join Senate Democrats and act with the urgency this public health crisis demands. Expanding federal background checks to all gun sales would be a good start, but the Senate should also act on the following bills I have cosponsored:

Background Check Expansion Act would expand federal background checks to the sale or transfer of all firearms by private sellers, with certain reasonable exceptions.

Background Check Completion Act would make “no check/no sale” the rule for firearm transfers by closing the Charleston loophole – the loophole in existing federal law that allows licensed firearm dealers to transfer firearms to purchasers when a background check is initiated but not completed within three business days, even when the buyer is not legally allowed to purchase the firearm.

Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act would help to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking from gun violence by (1) adding individuals convicted of stalking misdemeanors to the list of prohibited persons who cannot purchase or possess firearms, and (2) expanding the definition of “intimate partners” to include dating partners, so that abusers would not be legally able to obtain a firearm regardless of whether they lived with their partner or had a child together (also known as the “boyfriend loophole”).

Resources for Victims of Gun Violence Act would establish an Advisory Council to help victims of gun violence—including survivors and the families, classmates and coworkers of individuals affected by gun violence—learn about and access the resources, programs and benefits that could help them meet a wide range of personal needs.

Lori Jackson – Nicolette Elias Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act would close loopholes that allow domestic abusers to legally obtain weapons. The expanded legislation would also establish a federal grant program to support state and local efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers while they are subject to temporary or emergency restraining orders.

Gun Violence Prevention Research Act would authorize $50 million in CDC funding each fiscal year for the next five years to study firearms safety and gun violence prevention.

Equal Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that Congress passed in 2005 to shield gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers from liability.

The Safe Gun Storage Act would direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish safety standards for firearm locks and firearm safes. These lifesaving devices are proven to prevent children, individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others, and unauthorized persons from gaining access to firearms.

Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act would strengthen accountability measures for irresponsible gun dealers and provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with additional resources for enforcement.

Break the Cycle of Violence Act would provide $5 billion in federal grants to communities that experience 20 or more homicides per year and have a homicide rate at least twice the national average, or communities that demonstrate a unique and compelling need for additional resources to address gun and group-related violence. The grants would be used to implement hospital-based intervention programs, evidence-based street outreach programs, and group violence intervention strategies.

Ethan’s Law would create federal requirements for safe gun storage and strong penalties for any violations. Under this bill, gun owners would be required to secure their firearms in a “secure gun storage or safety device” if a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without permission, or if a resident of the dwelling cannot legally possess a firearm. The bill also includes incentives for states to pass, and enforce compliance of, their own safe gun storage laws.”

TODD YOUNG (R) INDIANA
Young’s office referred to a tweet from the senator: “I am deeply saddened by the horrific shooting today at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Our nation mourns the innocent lives taken in this senseless tragedy.”