California Observer

US Senate announce bipartisan gun control agreement

Image Source: NY Senate

In response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a bipartisan group of 20 senators led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) said on Sunday that they had agreed to “a reasonable approach” to reduce gun violence. 

In a significant move, ten Republicans joined the bipartisan framework, indicating that legislation based on its principles has a good possibility of garnering 60 votes and overcoming a filibuster on the Senate floor. 

President Biden praised the accord and promised to sign it, calling it “the most substantial gun safety measure to pass Congress in decades.” 

The nine-point bipartisan plan would direct federal resources to establish red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous to the community, invest billions of dollars in children and family mental health services, fund school-based mental health services, fund new school safety measures, and strengthen criminal background check requirements for gun buyers under 21. 

Murphy, Cornyn, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Thom Tillis spearheaded two weeks of vigorous bipartisan negotiations (R-N.C.). It also arrives in time to meet a deadline for bipartisan talks by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).  If Republicans do not agree to something swiftly, Schumer has vowed to bring gun-control legislation to the floor for a vote, regardless of whether it has bipartisan support. 

Schumer applauded the framework agreement on Sunday, calling it “a promising first step toward addressing the country’s repeated passivity on the gun violence epidemic that has afflicted our society and scared our children for far too long.” 

Once the text of the agreement is finalized, the Democratic leader promised: “to put this bill on the floor as quickly as feasible.”  After the chamber finishes work on a bill to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, Democrats want to put a gun-violence package to the floor the week of June 20. 

On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed his delight that bipartisan talks are progressing well. The principles announced by the group, according to McConnell, “highlight the benefits of conversation and cooperation.” 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the accord “a step forward” but promised to keep fighting for more stringent gun control measures that passed the House this week. 

Domestic violence restraining orders will be included in the national instant criminal background check system, the definition of a federally licensed firearm dealer will be clarified to include more people who sell a high volume of firearms, and new penalties will be imposed on people who illegally purchase and traffic firearms, according to the legislative framework. 

Before the Memorial Day recess, McConnell revealed that Cornyn, a reliable ally with an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, had been appointed as the primary Republican negotiator. 

Last week, McConnell told reporters that he wanted to see a bill passed, signaling a significant shift in tone after nearly three decades of deadlock on gun control and gun violence legislation.

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