On CNN’s “State of the Union," Senate Majority Whip Dick...

On CNN’s “State of the Union," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he would encourage Republicans to have the “political courage” to support gun reform. Credit: EPA / EFE / Shutterstock / Michael Reynolds

Senate Democrats on Sunday urged Republicans to join them on comprehensive federal gun reform after mass shootings at a Texas grade school and a Buffalo supermarket, but acknowledged the path to significant change will be difficult.

On CNN’s “State of the Union," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he would encourage Republicans to have the “political courage” to support reform. 

Durbin said Democrats are unlikely to see all the changes they hoped for, including red flag laws, an assault weapons ban, or raising the minimum age to buy a gun to 21, but added that he was optimistic for some compromise.

“I can't say for certain, but I can tell you, I sense a different feeling among my colleagues after Uvalde,” he told co-host Dana Bash.

Durbin's comments came as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden spent Sunday visiting Uvalde, Texas, the site of the mass shooting on May 24.

An 18-year-old man armed with an assault rifle fatally shot 19 students in a fourth grade class and two teachers. Authorities said the gunman had recently purchased the weapon used in the attack at a gun shop for his 18th birthday.

Two weeks ago in Buffalo, an 18-year-old gunman armed with an assault rifle killed 10 people inside a supermarket.

In the wake of the latest massacre, a bipartisan group of senators convened this week to discuss potential gun safety legislation.

Federal lawmakers, including on Long Island, have been largely divided along party lines on how to approach the issue — Democrats have generally favored tightening gun laws, while Republicans have stressed the importance of hardening school security.

Red flag laws, similar to the one that went into effect in New York State in 2019, have become a topic of discussion as measures that could be up for consideration nationwide. New York's Red Flag Law prohibits individuals determined by mental health evaluation to be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm.

After the Buffalo shooting, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order that requires State Police to file for an extreme risk protection order when there is enough probable cause to believe a person qualifies in one of those categories.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who is leading the bipartisan talks, said he has seen the most Republican interest in gun legislation since the Sandy Hook school shooting in his state nearly a decade ago. Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Murphy said he believed he could persuade 10 Republican lawmakers to reach a compromise of some sort on gun reform.

“I really think we can pass something that saves lives and breaks this log jam that we’ve had for 30 years, proving to Republicans that if you vote to tighten the nation’s gun laws the sky doesn’t fall for you politically,” he told host Margaret Brennan.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who supports measures like universal background checks, raising the minimum age and banning high-capacity magazines, said he suspects some of his colleagues feel the same way, but are afraid to publicly say so.

“Once you make something that's outside of the cultist position … you're going to get a bunch of attacks that say, you're crazy, it's my right, the Second Amendment, even though we all believe in the Second Amendment,” said Kinzinger on “State of the Union.”

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