The bill—the first of its kind in nearly three decades—was announced days after the House passed a package of additional gun reforms that are popular with a majority of Americans.
20 Senators — including 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans — announced Sunday that they agreed on a proposal for gun reform legislation. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., both signed onto the proposal.
The agreement includes:
- Investments into improving access to in-person and telehealth-based mental health services,
- Expansion of protections for victims of domestic violence.
- Funding for in-school mental health services.
- Enhanced review process for firearm purchasers under age 21.
- funding for states and tribes to implement “red flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate firearms from those deemed by courts to be a danger to themselves or others.
- Update to the definition of a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer.
- Increased penalties for “straw purchasers,” or those who illegally purchase guns for people who are prohibited from owning one by law or who don’t want their name associated with the purchase.
“Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities,” the senators said in a group statement released Sunday.
Bill text for the proposal has not been written yet, less than two weeks ahead of a two-week break for Independence Day.
More Ambitious Bill in the House
The deal comes days after the House passed the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” a package of additional gun reforms that are popular with a majority of Americans, including regulating “ghost guns” and prohibiting the sale of certain semi-automatic weapons to people under 21.
The Arizona delegation voted along party lines, with the five Democratic representatives voting to pass the bill and the four Republicans voting against it.
This Senate proposal is expected to have a better chance of passing both chambers, due to its support from key Republican senators who hold significant power in overcoming the 60-vote filibuster.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, alongside other co-chairs of the nonpartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, hailed the senators for working to find common ground on gun safety solutions.
“Mayors are on the frontlines of our nation’s gun violence crisis, and for far too long, we’ve been urging our federal lawmakers to advance life-saving policies that will keep our communities safe,” the group said in a statement released Tuesday. “While this work is far from over, the framework released this week is an important step in the right direction.”
Praise From Gun Safety Groups
National gun safety organizations Everytown and Moms Demand Action also applauded the proposal in a statement released Sunday.
“If the framework announced today gets enacted into law, it will be the most significant piece of gun safety legislation to make it through Congress in 26 long and deadly years,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, in the statement.
The last major piece of gun legislation passed by Congress was in 1994, when then-President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban into law. The ban expired in 2004 after renewal efforts failed.
“We’re breaking the logjam in Congress and proving that gun safety isn’t just good policy – it’s good politics,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, in a statement. “Our grassroots army has been demanding action from the Senate for nearly a decade and now we’ll fight like hell to get this historic deal over the finish line.”