U.S. senators reach deal on gun legislation in aftermath of Uvalde shooting

Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, including Texan John Cornyn, announced Sunday the framework for a legislative deal to address gun violence in the aftermath of the May 24 mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead at a Uvalde elementary school.

The tentative deal includes a mix of modest gun control proposals and funding for mental health. It would incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others; boost funding for mental health services, telehealth resources and more school security; permit juvenile records to be incorporated into background checks for purchasers under the age of 21 and crack down on the straw purchase and trafficking of guns.

“Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” said a joint statement from the bipartisan negotiating group that included Cornyn and nine other Republican senators.

“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.”

“Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” the news release stated. “We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law.”

Sources involved with the negotiations caution there is not yet legislative text to the deal and its prospects remain fragile as the Senate heads into what is expected to be a frenetic week. That 10 Republican senators signed onto the plan adds confidence that a potential bill will overcome the 60-vote threshold needed to bypass a filibuster threat.

The 10 Republican senators are Cornyn, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah.

President Joe Biden signaled support for the proposal on Twitter, “It does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction,” he said. “With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay. Let’s get this done.”

Democrats are signaling that nearly any Senate-passed gun bill, even a modest one, will receive a positive reception in the House chamber. Later Sunday afternoon, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement confirming as much.

“While more is needed, this package will take steps to save lives,” she said, praising the red flag component specifically. But she also indicated a desire for measures that are not in this deal.”

“As we move forward on this bipartisan framework, we are continuing to fight for more life-saving measures: including universal background checks, banning high-capacity magazines and raising the age to buy assault weapons, which must also become law.”



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