What The New Congressional Gun Deal Will (And Won’t) Do To Stop Gun Violence In America
The framework is limited. It would still be the most significant gun legislation by Congress in decades — if it becomes law, that is.
Nearly two weeks after the House Judiciary Committee met to consider eight pieces of gun control packaged together in the "Protecting Our Kids" act, a bipartisan group of senators announced they've agreed on a different framework for gun safety. While it's not everything that the Protecting Our Kids Act, a bill that passed the House last week and hasn’t yet been taken up by the Senate, would have covered, it would still mark some of the most significant forward action on guns in decades in Congress. Here's what you need to know.
Lawmakers are moving forward with a bipartisan framework on gun safety.
Over the weekend, a bipartisan group of senators announced a framework for federal gun control legislation, a move that seemed impossible a few months ago. Republican senators have consistently pushed back and stalled on passing any restrictions on gun ownership. However, after the deadly mass shootings in late May in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, pressure has been mounting for both sides of the aisle to work together.
It's important to note that although there's a cooperation between the two parties, the framework isn't formal legislation yet, and it goes fart shorter than what President Biden has called for in response to gun violence that plagues the United States. Sorting out the language in the legislation will still likely require some back-and-forth between the Democrats —who have overwhelmingly been supportive of gun control measures— and the 10 Republican senators who have indicated support for the new proposed framework.
How soon are lawmakers hoping to have formal legislation on bipartisan gun safety?
Should the 10 Republicans stay on board after formal legislation is written, which CNN notes may be challenging to maintain through the legislative process, it would give the proposal enough support to overcome a Senate filibuster. The Democrats hope to have the bill drafted before the next congressional recess in two weeks.
The bipartisan legislation differs from the "Protecting Our Kids" act passed in the House earlier. The framework now mainly focuses on school security interventions and mental health rather than coming down hard on meaningful firearm control measures.
What the bipartisan gun safety framework includes:
Red Flag Laws: helping states create and implement laws to keep guns away from those who pose a threat to themselves or others. The law would provide funding to all the states — including those that currently have similar laws — to enact red flag laws.
School Security Resources: resources to increase safety measures in primary and secondary schools, including supporting violence prevention efforts and training.
Closing the Boyfriend Loophole: Perhaps one of the most significant moves of the framework, the new framework would ensure people in relationships who have been convicted of domestic violence would no longer be eligible to own a gun. It would close the loophole in the law that as of now only prohibits "a person who has been married to, lived with or had a child with a partner they've been convicted of abusing" from owning a gun and ensures that more people would be prohibited from gun ownership.
Funds for Telehealth and Mental Health Support: include "major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery."
Enhancing Review Process for Under 21 Buyers: during the background process for people between 18 and 21 wishing to buy a gun like an AR-15, checks would need to include any juvenile criminal or disqualifying mental health records and would take more time to complete.
What the bipartisan gun safety framework leaves out from the "Protecting Our Kids" act:
- An assault weapons ban
- Enacting a higher minimum age of purchase
- More greatly expanding background checks
What are people saying about the bipartisan gun safety framework?
Not everyone thinks the proposed framework does enough, mainly because it seems to leave out some of the more reform-focused legislation in favor of more safety-focused ones. But may feel it's at least a step in the right direction.
"While more is needed, this package will take steps to save lives," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of lawmakers who disagree with even these measures moving ahead. "I will vote against the Biden-Schumer gun confiscation legislation, which includes red flag gun confiscation that violates the Second Amendment rights of my constituents," Republican Mary Miller, of Illinois, said after the framework was disclosed.
The Democrats are hoping to move quickly on the legislation, July recess will take place in two weeks, so there is likely to be little contention from the House of Representatives should the Senate pass the framework.