A bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement on Sunday on a framework for a range of new gun safety measures, but they fall short of banning the purchase of assault weapons for people under the age of 21.
Specifically, the agreement will expand background checks to those under the age of 21 who purchase guns; grants to states to enact “red flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns that pose a danger to themselves or others; expansion of mental health programs; Reform the background check system overall, with a focus on preventing domestic abusers from buying guns; and increased funding for school safety. It also includes the first federal law against gun smuggling and straw buying.
Such a declaration would mark a breakthrough in a long stalemate over any new gun law, even if it had broad public support, such as universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines and measures to raise the minimum age for assault purchases. are not included. Weapons up to 21. Polls also show overwhelming majority support for a federal ban on assault weapons, which was allowed to expire in 2004, but such a ban was a non-starter. managing committee Conversation.
The settlement would still be less than that. The Uvalde shooter bought two assault rifles after his 18th birthday, the legal age in Texas.
But members such as Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) have said they aim to find common ground on meaningful legislation.
Murphy, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Kirsten Cinemas (D-AZ) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) are leading the talks. The text of the law is still to be written.
“Will this bill do everything it needs to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic?” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “No. But it is real, meaningful progress. And it breaks the 30-year-long jam, showing that Democrats and Republicans can work together in a way that really saves lives.”
He said the framework has the support of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, the latter of which could be a good sign of finally overcoming a filibuster threat.
but some gun improvement Advocates believe that Senate talks may also reflect the changed environment in the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX. On Saturday, thousands of protesters flocked to Washington, D.C. and cities across the country to call for gun legislation as part of another. march for our lives Protests following a similar incident in 2018 following the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Today’s announcement of the bipartisan gun-safety framework is a good first step to end the persistent inaction to the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our country and has terrorized our children for far too long. Once the text of this agreement is finalized, I will introduce this bill as quickly as possible so that the Senate can act swiftly to advance gun-safety legislation.
President Joe Biden said he would sign the law if it passed Congress.
“Obviously, it doesn’t do everything I think is necessary, but it does represent important steps in the right direction, and will be the most important gun safety law to pass Congress in decades,” he said in a statement. said in. “With bipartisan support, there is no excuse for delay, and no reason why it should not move quickly through the Senate and the House.”
Gun reform activist and Parkland shooting student David Hogg wrote on Twitter: “This is the first step and it’s actually a lot more than I thought.”
He later said in a statement, “In a less broken society, we would require background checks whenever someone wanted to buy a gun, and we would ban assault rifles outright. If even a single life is saved or an attempt at mass shooting is stopped, it is worth fighting for.”
Former Congressman Gabby Giffords, who was seriously injured in a mass shooting and attempted murder in January 2011, wrote that “although the settlement is not perfect, many details remain to be worked out and much more.” If carefully drafted and passed into law, this framework will be a life-saving step.”
But others saw the agreement as weak enough that it would only give cover to Republicans to say they had done something. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said on CNN she was “disappointed” that the law had an increased focus on “juvenile criminalization” rather than “really focusing on guns.” But “the background check provision is encouraging, so I think we really need to look at the text.”
Last week, Uvalde, TX native actor Matthew McConaughey met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and with Biden at the White House, urging action on gun reform. He also appeared in the White House briefing room, calling for moves such as raising the minimum age for the purchase of assault weapons to 21. He has yet to issue a statement on the proposal.