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Texas GOP boos, rebukes John Cornyn over Senate gun negotiations, approves hard-right platform

The Republican Party of Texas concluded its three-day convention in Houston on Saturday night. And despite the party's dominance at all levels of power in Texas and optimistic projections for the 2022 midterms, "the mood of this convention was not hopeful," The Texas Tribune reports. The platform delegates presumptively adopted veered hard right. 

The Texas GOP just went "full MAGA," Axios assess

The platform's more than 270 planks declare that President Biden "was not legitimately elected," define homosexuality as "an abnormal lifestyle choice," call for Texas schoolchildren "to learn about the humanity of the preborn child," urge a 2023 referendum on Texas seccession, push for repealing the Voting Rights Act and the 16th Amendment, and "reject the so called 'bipartisan gun agreement'" being negotiated by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) after the mass murder of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

Cornyn was loudly booed when he spoke at the convention.

The modest gun safety package being finalized by Cornyn's bipartisan group would encourage states to adopt "red flag" laws and tighten background checks on gun buyers 18 to 20. The Texas GOP platform explicitly opposes both measures

Polls suggest Texans aren't on the state GOP's side here. A Quinnipiac University released last week found that gun violence has replaced abortion as the No. 3 issue voters are urgently focused on in the state, Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) approval on handling gun violence has dropped to 37 percent, and the race between him and Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke has narrowed to 5 percentage points, from 15 points in December. 

A slim 51 percent majority of Texas voters told Quinnipiac that stricter gun laws would decrease the number of mass shootings, up from 42 percent last June, and 58 percent backed stricter gun measures, 93 percent supported background checks for all gun buyers, and 73 percent approved of raising the minimum legal age to buy guns.

Cornyn is one of the top recipients of NRA cash in Congress and has an A+ rating from the gun-rights group. He is still optimistic about the gun bill's chances in Congress. And Republicans told the Houston Chronicle that they were trying to send him a message with their boos, not threatening him with political death. 

If Cornyn is the Senate nominee in 2026, "we're voting for him," delegate Michael Walton told the Chronicle. "But he needed to hear what he heard yesterday."