Senate Democrats have found 10 Republican Senators to endorse a sweeping “gun safety bill” that would inevitably be signed by President Biden if it navigates the Senate. Biden has already praised the legislation, mentioning that it “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.” It is possible that more Republicans could join, as several others have showed interest, including Marco Rubio, Lisa Murkowski, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) took the lead in drafting the legislation and leading negotiations. Among the ten Republican Senators to signal support for the gun control bill were Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey and Lindsey Graham.
“I am glad Senators Cornyn and Murphy are continuing to make headway in their discussions,” McConnell said in a statement, adding that he hoped the talks make progress on “key issues like mental health and school safety” in a way that “respects the Second Amendment.”
That they have 10 Republicans signing on out of the gate is a strong indicator this could go the distance. That the list doesn’t include Murkowski or Rubio and McConnell has already put out a positive statement on the deal suggests there’s room to get more R support. https://t.co/RMxJ8p88Pa
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) June 12, 2022
NEWS: Bipartisan group of 20 Senators announces framework of a bill to combat gun violence in America.
Full list of Senators and the list of provision is HERE: pic.twitter.com/H0dlB55szX
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) June 12, 2022
The legislation contains several initiatives that appear to placate both sides of the aisle, such as investment in “Children and Family Mental Health Services” and “funding for school-based mental health and supportive services.”
After addressing the mental health aspects, the proposal includes “an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records” for firearm buyers under 21. The legislation also mentions “closing the boyfriend loophole,” which would “prohibit dating partners from owning guns if they have been convicted of domestic violence.”
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the legislation is funding for “states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others”, which essentially amounts to what is referred to as a “red flag law.”
Critics of red flag laws suggest that there could be selective enforcement that targets gun owners and prospective gun buyers who, for example, share certain opinions online.
They rule through manipulation of procedural outcomes
Set up what sounds like a rational and neutral process and then define the terms in your favor, staff each position with people who will decide in your favor at every step
— Auron MacIntyre (@AuronMacintyre) June 12, 2022
Many on the political left are criticizing the proposal for not doing enough to restrict access to firearms.
A Senate gun safety plan endorsed by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats falls far short of reforms long championed by gun control activists and a majority of congressional Democrats. It amounts to notable, albeit narrow, progress amid deep party divisions. https://t.co/WEFNp05vCL pic.twitter.com/KNCaulTD1s
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 12, 2022
Those criticizing the bill from the pro-gun control side argue that the legislation does not address specific firearms and magazine sizes. Many in the Democratic party and their media allies have been calling for restrictions and even bans on all semi-automatic weapons that chamber rounds above .22 caliber, which account for the bulk of privately owned firearms in America. Calls to ban the AR-15 and magazines with over 15 rounds have become more mainstream on the left.
Imagine a shooter with an AR-15 enters your child’s school and leaves a hole the size of a basketball in their chest.
Would thoughts and prayers be enough for you? It isn’t for families in Uvalde.
The teachers and children who died cannot change the law. But we can and we must. pic.twitter.com/WORESrl14H
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) June 8, 2022
Ban the AR-15. Ban all assault style rifles and do it now.
— Julie Ann Emery (@julieannemery) June 12, 2022
A group of Senators have a deal on a package of gun safety measures that do not ban assault weapons, do not bar the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under 21, and do not ban the sale of large-capacity magazines. So what the hell are we talking about??? Nothing.
— Touré (@Toure) June 12, 2022
A group of 20 Senators came together to pitch the proposal as a necessary step for safety that also protects Second Amendment rights. The “guns safety bill” backers contained the 10 Republican Senators, as well as 9 Democrats and 1 Independent.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) took the lead in drafting the legislation.
According to a report from Politico, “any legislation on the Senate floor may be subject to amendments, provided the bipartisan group can complete legislative text and lock in the 60 votes needed to start debate.”