A bipartisan group of 20 senators – including 10 Republicans – announced framework for a deal to implement new gun control measures. The gun legislation was quickly put together in the wake of the Uvalde shooting – which ended in 19 students and two teachers being shot dead at the Robb Elementary School in Texas.
“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,” the group of senators said in a statement. “Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities.”
"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 joint statement read.
"Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans," the senators stated. "We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law."
The framework of the gun control package would expand background checks for firearm purchasers under the age of 21 to have their juvenile records and mental health records reviewed.
The deal would include a provision to close the so-called "boyfriend loophole." Convicted domestic violence abusers would be included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The legislation would offer incentives for states to implement "red flag" laws to enable police or family members to prevent someone who is deemed a risk to themselves or others from having guns.
The agreement would implement harsher penalties on "straw purchasing" of guns, and those who traffic firearms.
The framework includes funding for school safety measures and mental health resources.
The final bill hasn't been written yet, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was "pleased" that "Congress is on the path to take meaningful action to address gun violence" for "the first time in nearly 30 years." He vowed to put the bill on the floor "swiftly."
"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," Schumer said. "We must move swiftly to advance this legislation because if a single life can be saved it is worth the effort."
Shortly after the deal was announced, President Joe Biden issued a statement proclaiming that he would sign the legislation immediately.
"Obviously, it does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades," President Biden said. "With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it should not quickly move through the Senate and the House."
"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 concluded.
With the Senate deadlocked at 50-50, the bill has a good chance of passing with the support of the 10 GOP senators.
The Democratic senators who signed the proposal:
- Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
- Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Chris Coons of Delaware
- Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
- Mark Kelly of Arizona
- Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats;
- Joe Manchin of West Virginia
- Chris Murphy of Connecticut
- Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona
- Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
The Republican senators who endorsed the framework:
- Roy Blunt of Missouri
- Richard Burr of North Carolina
- John Cornyn of Texas
- Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
- Susan Collins of Maine
- Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
- Rob Portman of Ohio
- Mitt Romney of Utah
- Thom Tillis of North Carolina
- Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.