One day after the mass shooting of 19 children and two teachers in Texas, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) held a rare off-the-cuff press gaggle where she vowed to talk to Republicans about a gun safety deal. Then, knowing that his centrist colleague rarely talks to the Capitol press corps, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) quickly got in touch with Sinema after seeing her declare interest in an ever-elusive consensus on guns. Within an hour, Murphy and Sinema met, Politico reports. They convened a day later with Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), two Republicans recommended by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “And that’s how it started,” Sinema said, summing up the sequence of events: “Not very dramatic, is it?” The formation of the four-senator negotiating group was the most important moment in the gun safety talks. After years of failed gun negotiations, the personalities and policy profiles of the foursome proved critical to success in a 50-50 Senate where progress is unusually swayed by “gangs” of aspiring dealmakers. As a quartet, they’ve proved to their colleagues that a deal supported by both gun control activists and conservative Republicans is achievable. Though crafting the framework was arduous — requiring Democrats to narrow their focus and Republicans to get a bit out of their comfort zone — they’re now delving into the challenging task of writing the bill's text.
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