McConnell says he directed Cornyn to work on a 'bipartisan' gun violence solution

Manchin called the bipartisan gun reform meeting "very encouraging"
(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday told CNN that he instructed Texas Sen. John Cornyn and other senior Republican senators to begin discussions with moderate Democrats to create a "bipartisan" response to the Texas elementary school shooting that killed 21 people, including 19 children, on Tuesday. 

"I met with Senator Cornyn this morning. As you know he went home yesterday to see the family members and begin the fact finding of this awful massacre and I have encouraged him to talk with Sen. Murphy and Sen. Sinema and others who are interested in trying to get an outcome that is directly related to the problem. I am hopeful that we could come up with a bipartisan solution," McConnell told the outlet. 

On the Senate floor Thursday after visiting Uvalde, Cornyn expressed a desire for reform. 

"I'm not interested in making a political statement. I'm not interested in the same old talking points. I'm actually interested in what we can do to make the terrible events that occurred in Uvalde less likely in the future," he said.

McConnell would not tell CNN what the legislation could be, but indicated that he wants Cornyn to take charge.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said senators will come together to figure out a solution, but he is cautious.

"We'll have a series of meetings today to set the table for next week and then we will work really hard to try to find a bipartisan product," he explained.

"I've been through this before," Murphy said. "I know sometimes Republicans are more interested in talking than doing, so if we can't get some progress by the end of next week, then I'll say to Sen. Schumer it's time to take votes. And Sen. Schumer has committed that we're gonna have votes one way or the other on the floor of the Senate on issues like background checks."

Moderate West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin expressed optimism over the gun reform meeting, calling it "very encouraging."