US senators have announced a deal on a bipartisan gun violence bill, marking a small but notable breakthrough on gun control in the wake of recent mass shootings.
Nine days after Senate bargainers agreed a framework proposal — and 29 years after Congress last banned major firearms — Senators Chris Murphy, a Democrat, and John Cornyn, a Republican, told reporters on Tuesday that A final agreement was reached on the details of the proposal. ,
The law would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks, and penalize gun smugglers. It will also distribute funds to states and communities 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 and receiving firearms if they do not marry their victims. And it will provide funding to 19 states and the District of Columbia that have “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily take firearms from dangerous people, and violence prevention programs in other states.
The MPs released the 80-page bill on Tuesday evening. The measure is estimated to cost about $15bn, which Murphy said will be paid for in full.
The legislation lacks far more powerful proposals that Joe Biden supports and Democrats have pushed for years without success, such as banning assault-type weapons or raising the minimum age to purchase them, high-capacity Magazines are banned and background checks are required for almost all guns. sales. Those measures were derailed by Republican opponents in an equally divided Senate.
But the bill, if enacted, would still represent a minor but change on an issue that has not been compromised since Bill Clinton was president. Congress banned assault-type firearms in 1993, ending a decade after lawmakers made the final comprehensive legislation addressing gun violence.
Senators have gathered momentum in the wake of the devastating killings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York. Murphy said of Buffalo and Uvalde after: “I saw a level of fear on the faces of the parents and children I spoke to that I had never seen before.” He said his allies also faced concern and fear among voters “not only for the safety of their children, but also about the government’s ability to rise to this moment and do something and do something meaningful.”
The bill, Murphy said, was a partisan success that “would save thousands of lives.” Before entering the Senate, his House district included Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six staff members were killed in a 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Some think it goes far enough, others think it doesn’t go very far. And I get it. It’s the nature of compromise,” Cornyn said.
But he continued, “I believe the same people who are asking us to do something are sending us a clear message that we do what we can to keep our children and communities safe. Me. I am sure this law will take us in a positive direction.”
Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said his chamber would immediately begin debating the measure and move to final passage “as soon as possible”.
And in a positive sign about his fate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced his support, calling it “a general package of popular moves that would fully uphold the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.” Will help reduce these horrific incidents.”
The National Rifle Association, which has derailed gun control legislation for decades, said it opposed the measure. “It falls short on every level. It does little to really address violent crime while opening the door for unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment liberties by law-abiding gun owners,” the gun lobby group said. Told.
The measure would require at least 10 Republican votes to reach the 50-50-vote threshold often required in the 60-vote Senate. Ten Republican senators joined with 10 Democrats in support of the framework, and Cornyn told reporters that “I think there will be at least 10 GOP votes” for the measure.
What is uncertain is whether the agreement and its passage will mark the start of slow but gradual congressional action to stop gun violence, or the high water mark on the issue. As far as Buffalo and Uvalde, a numbing parade of mass killings — at sites including elementary and high schools, houses of worship, military facilities, bars and the Las Vegas Strip — has only led to a standoff in Washington.
“Thirty years, murder after murder, suicide after suicide, mass shooting after mass shooting, Congress has done nothing,” Murphy said. “This week we have a chance to break this 30-year silence with a bill that changes our laws in a way that will save thousands of lives.”