A bipartisan group of 20 U.S. Senators say they’ve agreed to “a commonsense proposal” to help curb gun violence. Following mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 people dead at Robb Elementary School, and a racist massacre at a Buffalo grocery store in which thirteen people were shot and ten killed, the democrats and republicans agreed to the outline of a deal to reform the nation's gun laws.
"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. 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," the coalition said in a statement.
CBS News reports the nine-point bipartisan plan would send federal resources to set up 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 safety measures at schools and strengthen criminal background check requirements for gun buyers younger than 21.
The bipartisan framework will likely agree to legislation based on its principles, and the laws would have a good chance to reach the required 60 votes to overcome a filibuster on the Senate floor.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the agreement “a step forward,” according to The Hill, but vowed to continue fighting for stronger gun control measures that passed the House this week.
“As we move forward on this bipartisan framework, we are continuing to fight for more life-saving measures: including universal background checks, banning high-capacity magazines and raising the age to buy assault weapons, which must also become law,” she said.
President Biden signaled his support for the deal in a statement, suggesting it “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” and promised his signature should it reach his desk.
The Hill reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell likewise said he is pleased the bipartisan talks are making good progress. McConnell said the principles announced by the group “show the value of dialogue and cooperation.”
“I continue to hope their discussions yield a bipartisan product that makes significant headway on key issues like mental health and school safety, respects the Second Amendment, earns broad support in the Senate, and makes a difference for our country,” he said.
The legislative framework calls for including domestic violence restraining orders in the national instant criminal background check system, clarifying the definition of a federally licensed firearm dealer to include more people who sell a high volume of firearms, and creating new penalties for people who illegally purchase and traffic firearms.
McConnell told reporters last week that he wanted to see a bill pass, a major shift in tone after nearly three decades of stalemate on gun-control and gun-violence legislation.
The support from the 10 GOP senators ensures that, if all 50 Democrats back the plan and the Republicans maintain their backing, once introduced as legislation the plan will advance in the Senate and will be able to overcome a filibuster.