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Senators Applaud a “Bipartisan Breakthrough” on Gun Control

A bipartisan gun safety package that would take guns away from dangerous individuals and provide billions of dollars in new financing for mental health services was the subject of a long-awaited agreement between Senate negotiators on Tuesday.

The bill breaks a nearly 30-year deadlock on the contentious themes of gun violence and gun regulation and offers a rare instance of bipartisan consensus on both topics.

Assault-style rifles, high-capacity magazines, and large expansions of background checks for firearm purchases—all of which were top Democratic demands a decade ago—are not prohibited under the measure.

However, it does provide governments greater tools to remove firearms from dangerous people, even if they haven’t been found guilty of a crime, and it allocates enormous sums of money for mental health care.

The legislation’s authors claim that the intention behind it was always to stop mass shootings like the ones that claimed 21 lives at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 lives at a supermarket in Buffalo.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chief Republican negotiator, said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, “I want to make sure we really accomplish something meaningful, something that is capable of becoming a law, something that will have the ability to save lives.

We’ve made some significant progress, I’m delighted to announce, thanks to the dedication of several senators in this chamber, he remarked.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has a decent chance of passing a package before the July 4 holiday after senators and staff reported on Tuesday afternoon that they had settled all lingering differences after working over the weekend.

The package was hailed as a significant victory by Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.), the chief Democratic negotiator.

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“I think this week will see the passage of the most important anti-gun violence legislation that Congress has approved in the last 30 years. This is a significant development, and more significantly, it involves both political parties, he added.

The proposal is expected to succeed, according to Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), because the bill’s underlying set of ten guiding principles has already received the support of ten Republican senators.

He stated, “My belief is that they’ll have enough votes to succeed based on the fact that they got 60 votes for the framework.”

Last week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) predicted that he would support the measure, giving it at least 61 votes needed to end a filibuster.

To close the infamous “boyfriend loophole,” which slowed down negotiations last week, negotiators broke through a verbal impasse.

If someone is found guilty of misdemeanor domestic violence against someone they were married to, lived with, or had a kid with, they are now prohibited from obtaining weapons. If the loophole were closed, other romantic or intimate partners would also be subject to the law.

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First-time offenders of misdemeanor domestic violence would be permitted to own a weapon five years after serving their sentences under the boyfriend loophole change, provided they were not convicted of any other violent crimes during that time.

As a result of domestic violence misdemeanor convictions, lawmakers argued about whether to establish a similar restitution mechanism to allow spouses, ex-spouses, cohabitants, and partners with shared children to reclaim their gun rights.

Democrats, though, turned down requests to include more people in the process of reclaiming gun rights.

As indications of significant Republican resistance emerged, negotiators rushed to complete the bill wording.

When Cornyn sought to defend his actions against Democratic demands for a ban on assault weapons and widespread background checks at the Texas Republican Convention on Friday, he was booed.

However, several well-known conservatives, notably Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, have sharply criticized even the modest idea to provide funding to states to implement red flag legislation and other emergency intervention procedures.

Carlson said on Fox that red flag legislation would “end due process,” not mass massacres. “Under red flag legislation, the government does not need to show you did anything illegal to deprive you of your most fundamental rights. A simple complaint is all that is needed to penalize you.

This month, right commentator and radio presenter Erick Erickson issued a warning: “Such laws are going to start being utilized to target people because of their political ideas.”

The bill would give states funding to implement “red flag laws” and other intervention measures to keep weapons away from persons who are regarded to be a risk to themselves or others.

Gun owners would have a quick opportunity to challenge and overturn a court order removing their guns, according to the senators who authored the text.

In a floor address, Cornyn assured his colleagues that the proposal would not affect a person’s ability to acquire a handgun unless they were found guilty of a crime or were determined to be mentally ill.

Cornyn highlighted that states won’t be eligible for federal money if they don’t enact red flag legislation with due process safeguards.

However, some Republican senators said they are still hesitant to use federal funds to assist states in enforcing red flag legislation.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) stated, “It’s a serious issue. I’ve heard complaints from veterans.

Some opponents of the plan are concerned that veterans’ mental health information may be used to confiscate their firearms.

Additionally, the bill would increase financing for school-based mental health and support services, spend more than $7 billion on mental health services, and finance initiatives to improve security surrounding elementary and secondary schools.

By granting more access to juvenile criminal histories, it would improve the background check process for gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21, clarify the definition of firearms dealers to include those who sell a significant number of firearms without a federal firearms license, and crack down on illegal gun trafficking.

Cornyn pointed out that the states would be in charge of the expanded background check procedure for those under the age of 21.

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Since the clause is expected to expire in ten years, new legislation granting the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System access to juvenile offense data would need to be passed by Congress in 2032.

How to apply Hyde Amendment wording in the plan to ensure that government cash would not be used to subsidize abortions was one of the group’s most recent points of contention.

According to Cornyn, the issue over the Hyde wording was settled by ensuring that it applied only to the bill’s required expenditure.

“Concern existed. Hyde already includes discretionary spending, but some of this may have included mandated spending, thus it wasn’t included. But I’m certain the issue has been handled in a way that keeps Hyde safeguards in place,” he added.

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