Senators announce framework of bipartisan gun deal

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators announced the outline of a gun deal that contains modest curbs for obtaining firearms, aid for mental health and schools, The Associated Press reported.

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The framework is substantially less than measures sought by Democrats, which include an assault weapons ban, restrictions on high-capacity ammunition and magazines and background check expansions, The Washington Post reported.

However, the gun provisions in the framework could, if enacted, represent the most significant new federal firearms restrictions enacted since the mid-1990s.

The compromise would make the juvenile records of gun buyers under age 21 available when they undergo background checks, the AP reported. The deal also would implement a federal grant program that would encourage states to establish “red flag” laws that allow authorities to keep guns away from people found by a judge to represent a potential threat to themselves or others, according to the Post.

In a statement, senators said the framework includes “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 negotiations have been led by four senators -- Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, CNN reported. They have been in talks all weekend to agree on the final details and have also been in discussions with a larger group of negotiators, according to the news outlet.

Ten Republican senators are included as being on board for the framework, CNN reported.

In addition to the four senators leading talks, the senators on the news release include Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Democratic senators on the release include Mark Kelly of Arizona, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Chris Coons of Delaware, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. It also includes Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

Leaders hope to push any agreement into law quickly, perhaps this month, the AP reported.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said the framework “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.”

“With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it should not quickly move through the Senate and the House,” Biden said in his statement. “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.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he planned to “put this bill on the floor as soon as possible” once the drafting of the legislation is completed, the Post reported. Aides said that process could take several more days.

Last week, the House voted 223-204 to pass a wide-ranging package of gun-control legislation. The Protecting Our Kids Act, however, is not expected to pass the Senate.

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