By David Morgan
WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) – A rare bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate to agree on legislation to address a wave of mass shootings could reach a watershed moment on Thursday as lawmakers decide whether the drive has enough momentum to succeed.
About a dozen lawmakers led by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Senator John Cornyn are trying to find common ground on a plan that would bolster school security, address gaps in the U.S. mental health system and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and individuals deemed to be a danger to the public or themselves.
Lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, had expressed hope for an agreement by the end of the week.
Negotiators and aides said there was a chance of reaching an agreement in principle. But short of that, lawmakers would have a clearer sense of the scope for further discussions before leaving Washington on Thursday for the weekend.
“We’ll have a much better idea tomorrow morning,” Cornyn told reporters on Wednesday. “We’ll have a better idea of whether we still have momentum, which I believe we do right now.”
Murphy told reporters that his aim was to pass legislation that can stem the tide of shooting deaths in America before the Senate breaks for the July 4 holiday at the end of the month. “This would be a big, historic deal, and we need to get it right,” he said.