Senate gun violence bill: Senators near agreement on compromise

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said his chamber will begin debating the measure immediately and move to final passage “as soon as possible.”

WASHINGTON — Senate negotiators on Tuesday agreed on a bipartisan gun violence bill, the parties’ two top negotiators said, rallying votes this week for an incremental but notable package to be introduced in Congress’ response to mass shootings in Texas and New Zealand York would be considered the US-shattered nation.

Nine days after Senate negotiators approved a framework proposal — and 29 years after Congress last enacted major restrictions on firearms — Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters, that a final agreement had been reached on the details of the proposal.

The legislation would tighten background checks for recent firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and increase penalties for gun dealers. It would also disburse money to states and localities aimed at improving school safety and mental health initiatives.

To remove the last two hurdles that have been delaying a settlement since last week, the bill would ban romantic partners convicted of domestic violence who are not married to their victim from acquiring firearms. And it would provide money for the 19 states and the District of Columbia that have “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily confiscate firearms from people deemed dangerous, as well as other states that have violence prevention programs .

Lawmakers released the 80-page bill Tuesday night. Aides estimated the measure would cost around $15 billion, which Murphy said would be paid in full.

The legislation lacks the far more impactful proposals that President Joe Biden endorsed and that Democrats have pushed unsuccessfully for years, derailed by GOP opposition. These include banning assault weapons or raising the minimum age to purchase them, banning high-capacity magazines, and requiring background checks on virtually all gun sales.

But if enacted, the election-year deal would mark a modest but telling turnaround on an issue that has not resisted compromise since Bill Clinton’s presidency.

After 10 black shoppers were killed in Buffalo, New York last month, and 19 children and two teachers died days later in Uvalde, Texas, Democrats and some Republicans decided this time measured steps were preferable to Congress’ usual response to such horrors – standstill.

Murphy said that after the Buffalo and Uvalde murders, I “saw a level of fear on the faces of the parents and the children I spoke to that I’ve never seen before.” He said his peers were also encountered anxiety and fear among voters “not just for the safety of their children, but for the government’s ability to rise to this moment and do something and do something worthwhile.”

That legislation, Murphy said, was a partisan breakthrough that “would save thousands of lives.” Before he entered the Senate, his home district included Newtown, Connecticut, where a 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 20 children and six employees died.

“Some think it’s going too far, others think it’s not going far enough. And I understand. It’s the nature of compromise,” Cornyn said.

But he added: “I believe that the same people who are telling us to do something are sending us a clear message that we must do what we can to protect our children and communities. I am confident that this legislation will move us in a positive direction.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said his chamber will begin debating the measure immediately and move to final passage “as soon as possible.” And in a positive sign of its fate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced his support, calling it “a sensible package of popular steps that will help make these horrific incidents less likely, while making Second Amendment rights more law-abiding.” citizens are fully respected”.

The National Rifle Association, which has spent decades derailing gun control legislation, said it opposes the measure. “It falls short on all levels. It does little to truly address violent crime, while opening the door to unnecessary burdens for law-abiding gun owners in exercising Second Amendment freedoms,” the gun lobby group said.

It seemed likely that a majority of Republicans — particularly in the House of Representatives — would oppose the legislation. Delegates underscored the backlash GOP lawmakers who support the pact would face from the most conservative of voters, and booed Cornyn at his state’s Republican convention in Houston on Saturday as he described the measure.

The measure requires at least 10 GOP votes to reach the 60-vote threshold that large bills often require in the 50-50 Senate. Ten Republican senators had partnered with ten Democrats to support the framework, and Cornyn told reporters that “I think there will be at least” ten GOP votes for the measure.

It is uncertain whether the accord and its passage would mark the beginning of slow but gradual action by Congress to curb gun violence, or whether the issue will reach a high-water mark. By Buffalo and Uvalde, a stunning parade of mass killings – in places like elementary and high schools, houses of worship, military installations, bars and the Las Vegas Strip – has only resulted in a stalemate in Washington.

“Thirty years, murder after murder, suicide after suicide, mass shooting upon mass shooting, Congress has done nothing,” Murphy said. “This week we have a chance to break that 30-year silence with a bill that will change our laws in a way that will save thousands of lives.”

Congress banned assault firearms in 1993 in a ban that expired after a decade, the legislature’s last sweeping piece of legislation to combat gun violence.

The senators did not initially describe how they had resolved the two major stumbling blocks that had delayed agreement on the plan’s legislative language.

One was how to subject abusive romantic partners to the existing ban that threatens abusive spouses to get guns. The other was providing federal assistance to states with “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily take firearms away from people deemed dangerous, or to states that have violent intervention programs.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said his goal is for his chamber to debate and vote on the bill this week. Momentum in Congress for gun legislation has waned quickly in the past following mass shootings. Lawmakers are scheduled to begin a two-week break on July 4 later this week.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he supports the outline negotiations announced last weekend. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also said she supports the effort and appears confident she will vote on it as soon as possible.

RELATED: McConnell backs Senate bipartisan gun deal: ‘One step forward’ Senate gun violence bill: Senators near agreement on compromise

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