Republican and Democratic senators on Sunday announced a gun safety framework following recent mass shootings, marking an important step as lawmakers are divided on gun reform.
The framework includes improved background checks for those under 21, allocating funds for mental health and school security, and grants to states to enforce warning laws, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
Both parties agreed on those measures in principle only now that no legislative form has yet been written, according to CNN.
The chief negotiators in the deal are Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut, John Cornyn of Texas, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, according to Politico. The proposal would require 60 votes to make it to the Senate floor once a legislative format is completed.
Ten Republicans in the Senate already support the deal, Axios said, including Cornyn, Tillis, Missouri’s Roy Blunt, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, Maine’s Susan Collins, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, Ohio’s Rob Portman, Mitt. . Romney from Utah and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania.
The deal also includes punishing those who illegally buy straw and trade weapons. It would also add convicted domestic violence offenders and those subject to restraining orders to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Sunday thanked senators for their proposal, but added that more needs to be done.
“Obviously it doesn’t do everything I think it needs to, but it reflects important steps in the right direction and would be the most important gun safety legislation to be passed by Congress in decades,” he said in a statement.
“With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it shouldn’t pass through the Senate and House soon. Every day that goes by, more children are being murdered in this country: the sooner it gets on my desk, the sooner it gets to my desk the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives,” the president added.
The renewed gun reform efforts come after 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, after legally purchasing two AR-15-style rifles. That same month, 18-year-old Payton Gendron killed 10 black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Our Kids Act to raise the legal age for buying semi-automatic rifles to 21, to require safe storage of firearms and to tackle the illegal trade in firearms. The bill passed by 223-204 votes.
Meanwhile, Cornyn posted a video on Twitter on Wednesday in which he identified mental health as a key element behind mass shootings, opposing “artificial deadlines” for votes on legislation.
“I want to find targeted solutions to this problem and protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” he tweeted.
news week reached out to the media offices of Senators Murphy and Cornyn, as well as Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for comment.