WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) – A bipartisan group of senators announced Sunday the framework for measures to combat gun violence, which includes enhanced background checks on gun buyers.
The deal was headed by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who has been outspoken about restricting gun access since the Sandy Hook shooting ten days ago, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a firm Second Amendment advocate.
“Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” the group of senators involved in the talks said in a joint statement. “Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities.”
Democrats feel the deal does not do enough to restrict gun access. Their bill included raising the age to purchase a weapon from 18 to 21 years old. However, the bill agreed upon has the best chance to become law because key Republicans support it, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, due to their power to veto a vote due to the 60-vote filibuster rule.
The agreement will see states implement “red flag” laws, which will allow police or family members to petition courts to keep guns away from people deemed a risk to themselves or others. Currently, only 19 of the 50 states have red flag laws.
The bill also includes a more rigorous process for background checks on people between 18 and 21 years old, which would see local law enforcement have access to criminal records as well as mental health records that could be disqualifying.
“Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” the senators said. “Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law.”
The bill being agreed upon comes amid a series of mass shootings in America, including a racially motivated massacre in Buffalo and an elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
President Joe Biden the deal takes “important steps in the right direction”, calling for it to pass in the House and Senate quickly so that he may sign the bill into law.
“With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it should not quickly move through the Senate and the House,” he said in a statement. “Each day that passes, more children are killed in this country: the sooner it comes to my desk, the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives.”