A bipartisan committee of Senate mediators claims to have struck an agreement on a bundle of safety and gun-related regulations designed to prevent future school massacres like the one that murdered 19 students and two instructors in Uvalde, Texas.
Money to motivate states to pass and enforce so-called “red flag” laws to ban handguns from potential murderers, money for school security and psychological health resources, expanded gun control measures for people aged 18 and 21, and punishments for illegal straw buyers by convicted murderers are all included in the proposition, which has not been written into legislative text.
At least 20 senators have backed the agreement, which was hammered out over several weeks to find areas of consensus that could pass the Senate’s deeply divided chamber. Because the group contains ten Republicans, a final package could get the 60 votes required to solve a filibuster.
It is a “basic common sense” idea, according to the mediators, that would minimize the possibility of unrest across the country.
In response, the group said, “Our approach enhances essential mental health support, enhances school care and security for students, and virtually guarantees dangerous criminals and those convicted as mentally ill cannot obtain firearms.” “Most critically, our strategy saves lives while protecting law-abiding Americans’ constitutional rights.”
Additional verification for potential gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21, including previously closed youth records on criminal activity and psychological health, is called for in the framework. According to lawmakers, the bill would also close the “boyfriend loophole,” allowing convicted child abusers to purchase firearms with the help of their dating partners.
The section on “red flag” legislation would offer federal cash to assist states to implement such laws to take guns away from people who already have them but may be a threat to themselves or others. The money, according to lawmakers, creates an incentive for states who have not yet established laws to allow for this type of assessment, as well as ensuring that the laws are effectively executed.
Financing for school-based programs such as mental healthcare, violence prevention, and education for learners and lecturers is included in the school security and psychological health sections. The plan also includes investments in children and family mental health services through community hospitals, as well as telehealth for mental and behavioral care.
The majority of mass shootings, according to mental health professionals like the National Alliance for Mental Illness, are not committed by persons who have a history of mental illness.
According to sources, the technical and legal method of changing a preliminary agreement into a formal bill may take weeks. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the lead Democrat in the talks, told Reuters that aides would start working on it on Monday morning.
The Support Is Increasing Despite Of Detractors
This resolution is not likely to be voted on anytime soon. Senators have expressed optimism that any bipartisan compromise will eventually pass the Senate, but the bill’s final fate is unknown.
In a message, President Joe Biden reaffirmed his approval of the agreement. “Certainly, it does not address all of my concerns, but it represents major progress in the right way, and it would be the most substantial gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” Biden added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promised that once legislation is prepared, he will bring it to the floor as soon as possible. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, released a statement congratulating the negotiations but stopping short of promising backing for a final package.
The bill has the support of at least two well-known gun-control advocacy groups. Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action have also released statements in favor of the bill.
“If the concept outlined today becomes law, this will be the most vital piece of gun safety bill to pass Congress in 26 long and tragic years,” Everytown for Gun Safety president John Feinblatt said during a comment.
The blueprint is “a big step towards finally achieving federal action to address gun violence,” according to Shannon Watts, the leader of Moms Demand Action.
The plan has yet to receive a response from the National Rifle Association. The group stated in a release that it does not comment on outlines and will observe until the final bill is completed before making a decision.
The spokesperson added, “We implore our political authorities to provide more resources to protect our schools, address our critically flawed mental health system, and assist law enforcement.” “The NRA will continue to reject any attempt to incorporate gun control policies, initiatives that supersede constitutional due process rights, or efforts to deny law-abiding residents of their fundamental duty to defend themselves and their dear ones into this or any other legislation,” says the NRA.
Other gun rights groups have already spoken out against the plan, blasting the ten Republican senators who support it. If they can persuade even one of them to walk out of the accord once the parliamentary details are worked out, the bill could be killed if no other Republicans join Democrats in supporting it.