Senators reach bipartisan deal on gun safety legislation: NPR

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senators agree on gun laws.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators say they have reached an agreement on a package of security and weapons-related measures closely aimed at preventing future shootings, similar to the one in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed in their school.

The proposal, which has not been incorporated into any legislative text, includes money to encourage states to adopt and implement so-called “red flag” laws to remove weapons from potentially dangerous people, money for school safety and mental health resources, extensive background checks for weapons purchases for people between the ages of 18 and 21 and fines for illegal straw purchases by convicted criminals.

The agreement has the support of at least 20 senators who have worked closely in recent weeks to find the common points that could pass the deeply divided Senate. The group is made up of 10 Republicans, meaning a final bill could potentially bring in the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

The negotiators called it a “common sense” proposal that would reduce the threat of violence across the country.

“Our plan will increase mental health resources, improve school safety and student support, and help ensure that dangerous criminals and those identified as mentally ill cannot purchase weapons,” the group said in a statement. . “Most importantly, our plan saves lives while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”

Aid workers have said it could take weeks to go through the legal and technical process to convert a preliminary deal into a final bill. Votes are not expected on this agreement anytime soon. Senators were generally optimistic that a bipartisan agreement will eventually pass the Senate, but the bill’s ultimate fate is not entirely clear. President Biden has largely left the senators to come to an agreement on his own without input from the White House, and House members have been largely unwilling to comment on the content of the talks until such a framework was released.

President Biden expressed his support for the deal in a statement. “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 Congress would pass in decades,” Biden said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) pledged to table a bill as soon as possible once the legislation is written. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released a statement praising the negotiators but ceasing to pledge support for any bill.

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