Gun control: Bipartisan group of senators announce tentative agreement on gun safety legislation

Notably, the announcement includes the support of 10 Republican senators, which would give the proposal enough support to overcome the Senate filibuster. The agreement is significant given the division among lawmakers on the gun issue, but the actual legislative text is yet to be written.

The proposal includes support for state crisis intervention orders, funding for school safety resources, an improved review process for buyers under 21, and penalties for buying straw.

Most importantly, the legislation includes a so-called red flag provision, with the government providing “resources to states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons do not fall into the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others,” the statement said. The proposal would also include “major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis intervention and recovery and trauma”.

Additionally, the legislation would provide resources “to expand mental health and support services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs and school-based mental health and support services.”

And that would address an area Republicans have focused on in recent weeks: school safety. The lawmakers said in their statement that the proposal provides funds “to help put in place safety measures in and around elementary and secondary schools”, while supporting “school violence prevention efforts”. and training of school employees and students.

Regarding the enhanced review process for buyers under 21, lawmakers said the proposal “requires an investigation period to review mental and juvenile health records, including checks with bases of state and local law enforcement data.

The group on the exit includes Republican Sens. John Cornyn from Texas, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr from North Carolina, Roy Blunt from Missouri, Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, Susan Collins from Maine, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, Rob Portman from Ohio, Mitt Romney from Utah and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania. Incumbent Democratic senators include Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Chris Coons of Delaware, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow. It also includes Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucus with Democrats.

Biden says framework ‘reflects important steps in the right direction’

President Joe Biden said Sunday the deal “doesn’t do everything I think is needed, but it does reflect important steps in the right direction.”

If passed, Biden wrote, the framework would mark “the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” adding, “With bipartisan support, there is no no excuse for delay, and no reason why it should not be quickly passed by the Senate and the House.”

“With each passing day, more and more children are being killed in this country: the sooner it lands on my desk, the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives.”

Biden also thanked Murphy, who led the negotiations for the Democrats, as well as Cornyn, Sinema and Tillis.

Senate leaders react

“The principles they announced today show the value of dialogue and cooperation,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement. “I continue to hope that their discussions will result in a bipartisan product that will make meaningful progress on key issues such as mental health and school safety, uphold the Second Amendment, gain broad support in the Senate, and make a difference for our country.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would introduce legislation “as soon as possible.”

“After a relentless wave of gun-related suicides and homicides, including mass shootings, the Senate is poised to act on common-sense reforms to protect Americans where they live, where they live. shop and where they learn,” the New York Democrat said. “We need to act quickly to move this legislation forward, because if one life can be saved, it’s worth it.”

Activists express their support

Gun control activists responded overwhelmingly positively to the deal on Sunday.

March for Our Lives, the student movement focused on preventing gun violence, said it welcomed the proposed reforms.

“In a less broken society, we would be able to require background checks every time someone wants to buy a gun, and we would ban assault rifles outright,” said David Hogg, l one of the group’s co-founders and a survivor of the 2018 Parkland School Shooting, in a statement. “But if even a life is saved or a mass shooting attempt is prevented thanks to these regulations, we think it’s worth fighting for.”

“We are grateful to the bipartisan group of senators who worked on this compromise,” he added.

And former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, who has become one of the nation’s leading gun control advocates since a 2011 shooting that killed six and nearly killed her, called the reforms “not forward saving”. (Giffords is married to Kelly, one of the Democratic senators behind the deal.)

“As a member of Congress, I have always worked across party lines to get things done for my constituents. This deal shows that it is still possible to cut through politics and serve the American people. “, she said in a series of tweets.

“And while this agreement is not perfect, many details remain to be ironed out and much more needs to be done. If carefully drafted and adopted, this framework would be a life-saving step forward.”

The talks lasted all weekend

Still, the deal would be significant given the division among lawmakers over the gun issue, even following a series of devastating mass shootings, including one that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school. in Uvalde, Texas.

A source with knowledge of the talks said negotiators hoped to get 10 Republican senators to sign the deal before it was announced, to show they can overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold. The Senate is currently split evenly between the Democratic and GOP conferences with 50 seats each.

Senator Chris Murphy
The four top Senate negotiators — Murphy, Sinema, Cornyn and Tillis — were in talks all weekend to work out final details and also held talks with a larger bipartisan group of negotiators.
The House voted 223 to 204 last week to pass a sweeping package of gun control laws called the Protecting Our Kids Act. The measure is not expected to pass the Senate, however, amid widespread GOP opposition to stricter gun controls.
The passage of the legislation in the House came hours after an emotional hearing on gun violence in which families of victims pleaded for more action.

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland on Sunday praised Senate negotiators before the announcement for their work on the legislation, but refrained from expressing support for the next package.

“Well, we would definitely vote on that and work on it,” he said on “State of the Union” when asked if he would vote for the bill, adding: “ This is a step in the right direction. We’re glad the Senate is finally awake to this.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from New York, later said on the same program that she would be willing to support the legislation “if we get a real baby step, not some kind of distraction, I think, from the solution .” She stressed that it was essential to include a provision for background checks.

“You know, I believe, if we can get background checks, my hope — my hope is that it’s a yes” on the legislation, Ocasio-Cortez said.

This story has been updated with news of the announced deal.

CNN’s Kristin Wilson, Devan Cole and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.

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