A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators on Sunday confirmed that they have reached an agreement for gun safety legislation.
The proposal, which has not been written into legislative text, has garnered the support of at least twenty senators who worked closely over the past several weeks to find the areas of common ground on the highly contentious issue. Notably, the announcement includes the support of ten Republican senators, which would give the proposal enough support to overcome a Senate filibuster.
“Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can't purchase weapons,” the group said in a statement. “Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” it continued.
The proposal includes support for state crisis intervention orders, more funding for school safety resources, an enhanced review process for gun buyers who are under the age of twenty-one, and penalties for straw purchasing. The legislation also includes a “red flag” provision, with the government providing “resources to states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others,” the release stated.
As for increasing school security, the senators noted that the proposal provides funding “to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools,” while also supporting “school violence prevention efforts” and training for school employees and students.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden said that the bipartisan agreement “does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction.” He continued by saying that the framework would mark “the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”
“Each day that passes, more children are killed in this country: the sooner it comes to my desk, the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives,” Biden said. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he would put a bill on the floor “as soon as possible.”
“After an unrelenting wave of gun-related suicides and homicides, including mass shootings, the Senate is poised to act on commonsense reforms to protect Americans where they live, where they shop, and where they learn,” he said. “We must move swiftly to advance this legislation because if a single life can be saved it is worth the effort.”
Last week, the House passed a wide-ranging gun control bill called the Protecting Our Kids Act, which raises the legal age to purchase certain semiautomatic centerfire rifles from eighteen to twenty-one years old, establishes new federal offenses for gun trafficking and for selling large-capacity magazines, enables local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through a buyback program, and takes steps to strengthen existing federal regulations on bump stocks and ghost guns.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.