Washington- A bipartisan group of 20 senators — including 10 Republicans — announced on Sunday the outline of a deal to reform the country’s gun laws, a breakthrough after weeks of negotiations sparked by the mass shootings inand †
“Today we are announcing a common sense, two-pronged proposal to protect American children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence in our country. Families are afraid and it is our duty to come together and do something. that will help restore their sense of security and security in their communities,” the coalition said in a statement.
The agreement would encourage states to pass so-called “red flag” laws, which the group calls “state crisis intervention orders”; strengthening mental health resources; providing funding for school safety resources; clarify the definition of a federally recognized arms dealer; and crackdown on criminals who illegally purchase and trade weapons.
It would also expand background checks for firearms buyers under 21 by requiring an investigation period to review juvenile and mental health records. Convicted perpetrators of domestic violence and those subject to restraining orders would now also be included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole.”
“Most importantly, our plan saves lives while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” the senators said in a joint statement. “We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and enacting our common sense proposal into law.”
If passed, the plan would be the most significant update to the country’s gun laws in nearly three decades, though the provisions fall far short of what Democrats have proposed in the wake of the recent mass shootings and what President Biden has been calling for. The framework was announced on the sixth anniversary of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which killed 49 people.
The Democratic senators who signed the bill are:
- Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
- Cory Booker from New Jersey
- Chris Coons from Delaware
- Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
- Mark Kelly from Arizona
- Angus King of Maine, an independent who consults with the Democrats;
- Joe Manchin from West Virginia
- Chris Murphy from Connecticut
- Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona
- Debbie Stabenow from Michigan
The Republican signatories include:
- John Cornyn from Texas
- Roy Blunt from Missouri
- Richard Burr from North Carolina
- Bill Cassidy from Louisiana
- Susan Collins from Maine
- Lindsey Graham from South Carolina
- Rob Portman from Ohio
- Mitt Romney from Utah
- Thom Tillis of North Carolina
- Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania.
The backing of the 10 GOP senators will ensure that if all 50 Democrats support the plan and Republicans maintain their support, it can run into the Senate once it is passed into law.
Biden thanked the bipartisan group for their “tireless work” in drafting the plan and said it should get through both chambers of Congress soon.
“Obviously it doesn’t do everything I think it needs to, but it reflects important steps in the right direction and would be the most important gun safety legislation to be passed by Congress in decades,” he said in a statement. “With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it shouldn’t pass through the Senate and House soon. Every day that goes by, more children are being murdered in this country: the sooner it gets on my desk, the sooner it gets to my desk the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to table the bill “as soon as possible” once the bill is finalized, a process that could take several weeks.
“After a relentless spate of gun-related suicides and homicides, including mass shootings, the Senate stands ready to act with common sense to protect Americans where they live, shop and learn,” he said in a statement. a statement. “We need to act quickly to move this legislation forward because if a single life can be saved, it’s worth it.”
The framework, Schumer said, is a “good first step to end the continued passivity to the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our country for too long and terrorized our children for far too long.”
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said the proposal announced “demonstrating the value of dialogue and cooperation” and said he supports ongoing negotiations but has stopped fully approving the framework.
“I continue to hope that their discussions produce a two-pronged product that makes significant progress on important issues such as mental health and safety in school, respects the Second Amendment, gains widespread support in the Senate and makes a difference to our country,” he said in a statement. declaration. pronunciation.
Led by Murphy and Cornyn, the senators last month began efforts to agree on gun law reforms in response to the massacres of a Tops supermarket in Buffalo and an elementary school in Uvalde, which together killed 31 people, including 19 children. , dead.
While previous attempts to pass gun control legislation have failed, the senators involved in the latest round of negotiations were optimistic they would reach an agreement on a plan that would have the support of at least 10 Republicans, whose support is needed to advance legislation. the 50-50 Senate.
Mr Biden . supports the efforts of the Senateto take legislative action to tighten gun laws in the wake of a spate of mass shootings that shook the nation. While the president has called for lawmakers to reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, or raise the minimum age for buying those firearms from 18 to 21 and strengthen background checks, among other measures, the Senate has instead worked on a closer proposal that would have GOP support.
Separately, the House last weekthat raises the age to buy a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21; prohibits large-capacity magazines; promotes safe storage of firearms and establishes requirements for weapons storage in residential buildings, and builds on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ regulatory ban on butt stock, which allows semi-automatic rifles to fire faster.
Carol Ross Joynt contributed coverage.