“Our plan saves lives while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. We look forward to gaining broad bipartisan support and getting our common sense proposal into law,” the 20 senators said in their statement.
Meaning. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), John Corny (R-Texas), Kirsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Thomas Tillis (RN.C.) are the main negotiators of the proposal. The most important element of the proposal would subject gun buyers 21 and under to scrutiny of their criminal records and mental health as minors. It proved difficult to write because each state has different laws governing juvenile records.
A larger bipartisan group has held its own regular gun meetings for the past three weeks since the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. And with Democrats controlling just 50 Senate seats, the approval of 10 Republicans is essential moving forward.
In addition to the four main negotiators, the legislation is supported by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coon (D-Delete), Martin Heinrich (DN.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (DN.J.), Richard Burer (RN.C.), Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), Angus King (I-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Portman, Toomey, Blunt and Burr are all retiring at the end of the year.
“Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and do something that will help restore their sense of security in their communities,” the 20 senators said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement hailing the announcement as proof of “the value of dialogue and cooperation”, although he avoided a direct endorsement of the framework: “I continue to hope that their discussions will result in a bipartisan product that will make meaningful progress on key issues like mental health and school safety, upholds the Second Amendment, garners broad support in the Senate, and makes a difference for our country.
In addition to provisions on red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to request the temporary removal of firearms from an individual who poses a threat to themselves or others, the package would also end the so-called “boyfriend’s loophole” by expanding gun restrictions. who have abused their romantic partners.
The package also aims to crack down on straw buyers and illegal unlicensed gun dealers, according to a summary of the agreement.
The emerging frame comes nearly three weeks after 19 children and two teachers were killed in the Uvalde shooting. The Texas killings came about a week after a racist mass shooter killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket, NY March for Our Lives, a gun safety group founded after the school shooting in 2018 in Parkland, Fla., held nationwide protests on Saturday urging Congress to address gun violence.
“With each passing day, more children are being killed in this country: the sooner it hits my desk, the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives,” Biden said Sunday.
Although Sunday’s announcement is a major breakthrough, translating a framework into actual legislation often proves difficult. Over the past year bipartisan infrastructure negotiations, for example, more than six weeks elapsed between the announcement by negotiators of a framework and the passage by the Senate of the resulting bill. And a GOP aide involved in the negotiations stressed that Sunday’s deal was “agreement on principles, not legislation.”
“The details will be critical for Republicans, especially the gun provisions,” the aide warned. “One or more of these principles could be dropped if the text is not accepted.”
While the nascent framework is modest compared to the longstanding push by Democrats for extensive background checks, it could result in a high point for GOP support for any level of gun restrictions. And so far, it’s the closest chamber to a broader gun safety agreement since 2013, when Manchin and Toomey wrote bipartisan legislation in response to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“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. We must act quickly to move this legislation forward because if one life can be saved, it is worth it,” Schumer said in his statement on Sunday.
Most Republicans and a handful of Democrats blocked the Manchin-Toomey legislation. And while the Senate tried again in 2019 to reach an agreement after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, then-President Donald Trump argued. disengaged amid House impeachment inquiry. The most significant recent new gun law came from Murphy and Cornyn, which strengthened the background check system.
This time around, Democrats would have preferred to expand background checks to more potential gun buyers and ban assault rifles, though those measures lack the necessary support among Republicans. A handful of Republicans favor raising the age to buy assault rifles to 21, to which McConnell expressed personal openness, but neither McConnell nor Cornyn pushed that as part of the package. , and the idea might not get the 60 votes needed to survive a GOP filibuster.
Given this difficult dynamic, Democratic leaders in the Senate are ready to accept a more modest deal than the sweeping restrictions most favorable to Biden’s party.
Any legislation in the Senate is subject to amendment, provided the bipartisan group can complete the legislative text and obtain the 60 votes needed to begin debate. After two more weeks of session, Congress is currently scheduled to take a two-week break on June 24.