(WASHINGTON) — After weeks of negotiation, a bipartisan group of senators released their anti-gun violence bill on Tuesday evening — setting up a vote in the upper chamber as early as this week.
The key four senators on the deal were Republicans John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democrats Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. The group came together after a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last month killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers.
“Today, we finalized bipartisan, commonsense legislation to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country. Our legislation will save lives and will not infringe on any law-abiding American’s Second Amendment rights,” the four lawmakers said in a statement. “We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense legislation into law.”
Led by Cornyn and Murphy, a group of 20 senators had announced last week that they agreed upon the broad outline of a bill, which they then focused on drafting more specifically. Now that the legislative text is complete, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could begin the process of teeing up a vote as soon as this week. He’s previously vowed to move the bill expeditiously.
“Once the text of this agreement is finalized, and I hope it will be as soon as possible, I will put this bill on the floor quickly so the Senate can move quickly to make gun safety reform a reality,” Schumer said in a floor speech the day after the bipartisan framework was introduced on June 12.
The bill marks a step forward in advancing that agreement, which was supported by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, enough to overcome a filibuster. That framework had outlined plans for a law that would include expanded background checks for those ages 18-21 as well as funding for school safety and mental health programs, funds to incentivize violence prevention programs in states and the closure of the so-called “boyfriend loophole” regarding which convicted domestic abusers can possess firearms.
If the draft text becomes law, it will be the first major gun legislation in nearly 30 years. But the Senate will need to work quickly if lawmakers want to see a floor vote before they depart for a two-week recess at the end of the week. Waiting until the end of that recess could prove a serious blow to the bill’s momentum, given resistance in some conservative circles.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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