A bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement in principle on gun-safety legislation. Ten Republican senators announced they will support the package, which will allow it to overcome the hurdle of a 60-vote filibuster. The bill:
- creates stricter penalties for gun trafficking and straw purchases which are purchases for someone who can’t buy the gun themself;
- enhances background checks for buyers under 21 years old, including a review of their juvenile records;
- clarifies the definition of a federally licensed gun dealer, to prevent criminals from illegally evading licensing requirements; and
- provides federal support for states to enforce their red flag laws.
Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, led the negotiations and are now joined by Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Cory Booker, D- N.J., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Chris Coons, D-Del., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Angus King, I-Maine, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
“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 group said in a joint statement. “Our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”
President Joe Biden said he’ll sign the bill if and when it’s approved by Congress.
“Obviously, it does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” President Biden stated.
President Biden wanted an assault weapons ban included, and if not that, he hoped to raise the legal age to buy an assault-style rifle from 18 to 21. Neither of those provisions are included in the framework.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants to put it on the floor for a vote as soon as it’s fully written and ready.
The National Rifle Association said it will reserve judgment until the full text of the legislation is written. But the organization released a statement that said it supports securing schools and increasing access to mental health and opposes any initiatives that override constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
Moms Demand Action, a group that supports gun safety legislation, came out in support of the bill and said it will save lives if passed.
“We’re breaking the logjam in Congress and proving that gun safety isn’t just good policy – it’s good politics. Our grassroots army has been demanding action from the Senate for nearly a decade and now we’ll fight like hell to get this historic deal over the finish line,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.