US Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a bipartisan gun violence bill.
- Bipartisan bill toughens background checks for youngest gun buyers
- It lacks the far more powerful proposals that President Joe Biden has been pushing
- If passed, it would be the first major U.S. gun law reform in 29 years
The deal calls for votes this week on a package that would be Congress’s response to the recent mass shootings in Texas and New York.
Nine days after Senate negotiators agreed to a framework proposal — and 29 years after Congress last passed major gun restrictions — Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy told reporters that a deal on the details of the proposal had been concluded and was “in good shape”.
Moments later, Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator, said he, Mr. Murphy and the other two Senate negotiators had reached an agreement.
The legislation would toughen background checks for younger gun buyers, require more sellers to complete background checks and toughen penalties for gun traffickers.
It would also give states and communities money to improve school safety and mental health initiatives.
Missing are the far more powerful proposals that President Joe Biden backs and that Democrats have pushed for years without success, which have been misguided by the Republican opposition.
These include banning assault weapons or raising the minimum age to buy them, banning high-capacity magazines, and requiring background checks for virtually all gun sales.
Yet, if passed, the election-year deal would highlight a small but telling shift in policy on an issue that has defied compromise since Bill Clinton was president.
Ten black shoppers were killed by a gunman last month in Buffalo, New York, and 19 children and two teachers were shot dead by another assailant days later in Uvalde, Texas.
“I believe that the same people who tell us to do something are sending us a clear message, to do what we can to keep our children and our communities safe.
“I am convinced that this legislation takes us in a positive direction.”
A majority of Republicans are expected to oppose the legislation.
Delegates booed Mr Cornyn at his state’s Republican convention on Saturday as he outlined the measure.
It will take at least 10 Republican votes to reach the 60-vote threshold that big bills often need in the 50-50 Senate.
The last time Congress took major action on gun control was in 1993, when a decade-long ban on assault-style firearms was introduced.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wants his chamber to debate and vote on the legislation this week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said she supported the effort.