Senate Strikes Bipartisan Deal for Gun Reform, Biden Says It ‘Reflects Important Steps in the Right Direction’

A bipartisan group of senators have announced a new framework for gun reform legislation, which includes a major beef-up of school security.

The legislation would include, “needed mental health resources, [improved] school safety and support for students,” and would help “ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” the senators said in a collective statement, per CNN.

10 Republican senators have said they agree on the legislation, which would be enough to overcome the Senate’s filibuster. While the legislative text hasn’t yet been penned, an agreement marks a significant step towards at least some small measures on gun reform, an issue that has starkly divided the Senate in the past.

The framework includes stricter background checks and extra scrutiny for gun buyers under 21, as well as more money for states to impose renewed red flag laws and provide additional funding for mental health treatment. The background checks for those under 21 would examine their juvenile criminal records and health records, and the red flag laws would provide local law enforcement with the authority to temporarily remove guns from those deemed a risk to others or themselves. The legislation will also aim to close the “boyfriend loophole,” which means those that have previously abused their romantic partners cannot buy a gun.

President Biden said on Sunday the agreement, “Does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction.”

“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,” Biden said. He called the agreement “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,” the President concluded.

The bipartisan agreement comes as the country is still reeling from a slew of mass shootings that have occurred in recent weeks. A mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas killed 19 children and two teachers just 10 days after a white supremacist opened fire and killed 10 Black people in a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York. The shooters used automatic weapons in both instances.

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