Murphy added: “The possibility of success is better than ever before. But I think the consequences of failure for our entire democracy are more significant than ever.”
Florida, a Republican-controlled state, acted swiftly after the murders of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in February 2018, passing red flag laws and raising the age requirement for buying, but not owning, firearms from 18 to 21, among other steps. The Parkland gunman was 19.
In his address to the nation last week, Joe Biden called for a federal ban on semi-automatic weapons, and raising the age requirement if that couldn’t be done.
Murphy acknowledged the Florida actions and said “there is interest in taking a look at that age range, 18 to 21” during bipartisan discussions about possible legislation, led on the Republican side by the Texas senator John Cornyn.
“Right now we’re trying to discover what can get to 60 votes [in the Senate],” Murphy said.
“But I think the template for Florida is the right one, which is some significant amount of investment in school safety and some modest but impactful changes in gun laws. That’s the kind of package we’re putting together right now. …
“We all agree violent criminals and deranged, dangerously mentally ill people shouldn’t have firearms,” he said, noting that lawmakers “not engaged on this in the past” have been involved now in negotiations.