A bipartisan group of United States senators, including enough Republicans to overcome the chamber’s “filibuster” rule, have announced an agreement on a framework for potential gun safety legislation.
Ten Republicans expressed support for the preliminary deal on Sunday, indicating the measure could potentially go through until a vote on the passage and overcome roadblocks by other Republicans who oppose most gun control measures.
The talks that led to the framework followed a series of high-profile mass shootings across the US, including one at a school in Uvalde, Texas last month that killed 19 young children and another in May at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York that 10 black victims.
Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, DC, said that while the final text has not been revealed, Republican and Democratic senators negotiating the proposal have released some highlights.
“It includes providing funding to states to conduct so-called red flag checks on people for mental health reasons or other reasons,” she said.
“It would also include extensive background checks for people between the ages of 18 and 21 so that their criminal records can be searched before they are under the age of 18. That’s a first.”
However, no other limits that Democrats and President Joe Biden had advocated — such as raising the age for buying semiautomatic rifles to 21 or new limits on assault-style rifles — were included.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, released a statement calling the plan “a good first step” and one that “would limit potential mass shooters’ ability to quickly acquire assault rifles by instituting an improved background check process.” for purchasers of weapons under the age of 21″.
Schumer said he wanted to quickly move a bill to a vote in the Senate once the legal details are worked out.
The US has the highest number of gun deaths among the wealthy countries in the world. But it is a country where many cherish gun rights, and the Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects the right to “have and bear weapons.”
“Our plan saves lives while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” the group of senators, led by Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican John Cornyn, said in a statement. “We look forward to getting broad, bipartisan support and sensibly enacting our proposal into law.”
The deal was announced a day after tens of thousands gathered in Washington and hundreds of other places across the US to demand that lawmakers pass legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.
Biden called on June 2 for a ban on the sale of high-capacity assault weapons and magazines, or, failing that, raising the minimum age to purchase those weapons from 18 to 21. Biden also urged the repeal of the liability shield that protects weapons. manufacturers are being sued for violence by people who carry their weapons.
The National Rifle Association, an influential gun rights group closely aligned with Republicans, called Biden’s proposals an infringement of the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Republican opposition has been critical for decades in thwarting Democrat-backed gun control proposals in Congress.
The Senate is split, with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and the legislation must have 60 votes to overcome a filibuster — a maneuver that prevents or delays action in a legislative session.