Washington, DC – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Sunday morning announced it had reached an agreement on new gun control legislation, and that their coalition had the 10 Republican votes that are needed to override a filibuster.
“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 statement released by 20 U.S. senators on June 12 read, according to ABC News.
“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,” the statement continued.
The group said the proposed gun legislation contained “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,” CNN reported.
The bipartisan gun control measure will also include incentives for the creation of more “red flag” laws in order to confiscate firearms from people who have been deemed a danger to themselves or others, ABC News reported.
Senators said the measure would also increase school safety funding and strengthen the federal background check system to better screen for convicted domestic violence abusers and persons who have restraining orders out against them.
“For buyers under 21 years of age, [the deal would require] an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement,” the bipartisan group said in its statement.
The statement was signed by a bipartisan coalition that included 10 Republicans so desperately needed to override a filibuster in the Senate chamber, CNN reported.
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) all supported the proposed gun control measure.
President Joe Biden said he wasn’t thrilled with the group’s proposal and said it “does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction,” CNN reported.
The bill does not raise the legal age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21 as most gun control advocates wanted.
The President gave the measure a half-hearted endorsement and said if it passed, it 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,” he added.
“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,” President Biden said.
The deal would be significant in that the Democrats haven’t had enough support from the GOP in the past to give any gun control legislation a chance, CNN reported.
Sources said negotiators were determined to have the 10 Republican senators needed to override a filibuster signed on to the proposed legislation before it was announced.
The U.S. House of Representatives has recently passed gun control legislation but the Senate has been largely unwilling to consider it, CNN reported.
The House passed the “Protecting Our Kids Act” last week in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, but that legislation was not expected to pass the Senate, even with the bipartisan group in place.
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) expressed skepticism about the bipartisan measure, CNN reported.
Ocasio-Cortez said she would support the initiative “if we get a real baby step, not kind of a distraction, I think, from the solution.”
The controversial progressive Democrat called the background checks provision of the legislation critical, CNN reported.
“You know, I believe that, if we can get background checks through, my hope — my hope is that it’s a yes,” she said.