US senators have announced agreement on a bipartisan gun violence bill that marks a small but notable breakthrough in gun control following the recent mass shootings.
Nine days after Senate negotiators approved a framework proposal — and 29 years after Congress last enacted major restrictions on firearms — Senators Chris Murphy, a Democrat, and John Cornyn, a Republican, told reporters Tuesday that a final agreement had been reached on the details of the proposal .
The legislation would tighten background checks for recent firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and increase penalties for gun dealers. It would also disburse money to states and localities aimed at improving school safety and mental health initiatives.
The bill also includes provisions to curb domestic violence, including prohibiting romantic partners convicted of domestic violence who are not married to their victim from receiving firearms. And it would provide money for the 19 states and the District of Columbia that have “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily confiscate firearms from people deemed dangerous, as well as other states that have violence prevention programs .
Lawmakers released the 80-page bill Tuesday night. The measure is valued at around $15 billion, which Murphy said would be paid in full.
The legislation lacks the far more impactful proposals that Joe Biden endorsed and that Democrats have pushed unsuccessfully for years, such as sale. These measures were derailed by Republican opponents in an evenly divided Senate.
But the law, if passed, will still mark a modest but revealing turnaround on an issue that has not resisted compromise since Bill Clinton’s presidency. Congress banned assault firearms in 1993 in a ban that expired after a decade, the legislature’s last sweeping piece of legislation to combat gun violence.
Senators have seized the momentum following the devastating killings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York. Murphy said after Buffalo and Uvalde, “I saw a level of fear on the faces of the parents and the kids I spoke to that I’ve never seen before.” He said his peers are with the voters, too encountered anxiety and fear “not just for the safety of their children, but for the government’s ability to rise to this moment and do something and do something worthwhile.”
That law, Murphy said, was a partisan breakthrough that would “save thousands of lives.” Before he entered the Senate, his home district was in Newtown, Connecticut, where a 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 20 children and six staff members.
“Some think it’s going too far, others think it’s not going far enough. And I understand. That’s the nature of compromise,” Cornyn said.
But he added: “I believe that the same people who are telling us to do something are sending us a clear message that we must do what we can to protect our children and communities. I am confident that this legislation will move us in a positive direction.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said his chamber would begin debating the measure immediately and move to final passage “as soon as possible.”
And in a positive sign of his fate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced his support, calling it “a sensible package of popular steps that will help make these horrific incidents less likely, while making Second Amendment rights more law-abiding.” citizens are fully respected”.
The National Rifle Association, which has spent decades derailing gun control legislation, said it opposes the measure. “It falls short on all levels. It does little to truly address violent crime, while at the same time opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedoms by law-abiding gun owners,” the gun lobby group said.
The measure requires at least 10 Republican votes to reach the 60-vote threshold that large bills often require in the 50-50 Senate. Ten Republican senators had partnered with ten Democrats to endorse the framework, and Cornyn told reporters that “I think there will be at least” ten GOP votes for the measure.
It is uncertain whether the accord and its passage would mark the beginning of slow but gradual action by Congress to curb gun violence, or whether the issue will reach a high water mark. Until Buffalo and Uvalde, a stunning parade of mass killings – in places like elementary and high schools, houses of worship, military installations, bars and the Las Vegas Strip – has only resulted in a stalemate in Washington.
“Thirty years, murder after murder, suicide after suicide, mass shooting upon mass shooting, Congress has done nothing,” Murphy said. “This week we have a chance to break that 30-year silence with a bill that will change our laws in a way that will save thousands of lives.”
US senators announce gun violence bill with bipartisan support | US News
Source link US senators announce gun violence bill with bipartisan support | US News