Image Source: NY Senate
On Sunday, a bipartisan group of 20 senators led by Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that in reaction to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, they had agreed to “a simple 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 gaining 60 votes and overcoming a filibuster on the Senate floor.
President Biden praised the agreement and promised to sign it, calling it “the most substantial gun safety measure to pass Congress in decades.”
The nine-point bipartisan plan would use federal funds 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 the age of 21.
The decision comes after two weeks of rigorous bipartisan discussions led by Murphy, Cornyn, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), and Republican Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
It also arrives just in time to meet a deadline for bipartisan negotiations by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
If Republicans do not agree to something swiftly, Schumer has vowed to bring gun-control legislation to the floor for a vote, whether or not it has bipartisan support.
On Sunday, Schumer applauded the framework agreement, calling it “a decent first step toward ending the country’s long-standing 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 “bring this law on the floor as quickly as feasible.”
After finishing work on a bill to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to treat veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, Democrats hope to put a gun-violence package to the floor the week of June 20.
On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remarked that the bipartisan talks are progressing well.
The group’s principles, according to McConnell, “highlight the significance of conversation and cooperation.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the accord “a step forward” but pledged to keep fighting for stricter 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.
Before the Memorial Day recess, McConnell said that he had appointed Cornyn, a valued ally with an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, to serve as the top Republican negotiator.
Last week, McConnell told reporters that he wanted to see a bill succeed, signaling a significant shift in tone after nearly three decades of deadlock on gun-control and gun-violence legislation.