Hold your fire: The Senate bipartisan deal on gun control and school safety is not clear
Assault rifles, age limits, red flag laws all considered
That was fast for Washington. Just 18 days after the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, TX, a group of bipartisan senators says they have a deal on legislation to address the tragedy. It also came just hours after an anti-gun “March for our Lives” rally in Washington on Saturday.
The bipartisan group is led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). They say they have enough Republicans now for a bill to get through the Senate. But no bill text was released to know exactly what will be in the legislation before it is passed into law.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proclaimed in a press release that this is a victory for gun control advocates:
“Today’s announcement of a bipartisan gun-safety framework is a good first step to ending the persistent inaction to the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our country and terrorized our children for far too long.
Once the text of this agreement is finalized, I will put this bill on the floor as soon as possible so that the Senate can act quickly to advance *gun-safety legislation.
Over on the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi seized on what McConnell said about the speed of passing something:
This morning, on a day marking six years since the tragic Pulse shooting, a bipartisan group of Senators announced a new framework for gun violence prevention legislation.This framework is a step forward For The Children.
(“The Children” is capitalized in her press release.)
And the gun-control activists are happy….
Second Amendment defense
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a statement with a more muted tone on speeding this into law:
“The principles they announced today show the value of dialogue and cooperation.
“I continue to hope their discussions yield a bipartisan product that makes significant headway on key issues like mental health and school safety, respects the Second Amendment, earns broad support in the Senate, and makes a difference for our country.”
The NRA sent out a statement that says in part:
As is our policy, the NRA does not take positions on "frameworks". We will make our position known when the full text of the bill is available for review.
The NRA will continue to oppose any effort to insert gun control policies, initiatives that override constitutional due process protections and efforts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their fundamental right to protect themselves and their loved ones into this or any other legislation.
Notice you don’t see Democrats using the words “gun control”? They suddenly call it “gun safety.”
They got this new language from pollster Frank Luntz.
I’ve noticed the media is using “gun safety” now too. I have a chapter in my book Emily Gets Her Gun on how the language used by the media reporting on gun control is deliberately misleading.
The New York Times used “gun safety” as its headline, taking it straight from Schumer’s press release.
CNN originally had “gun safety” in the headline - as you can see from the hyperlink in the article:
But at some point, CNN switched to “Bipartisan group of senators announces agreement on gun control”
I could only find one outlet —Fox News — that used “gun control” correctly in the headline.
Republicans in this bipartisan group are U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
The Democrats are U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D- N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
The group issued a statement with a summary of what they agreed upon in general terms. I put it all below so you can read through it:
The bipartisan proposal includes:
Support for State Crisis Intervention Orders
● Provides resources to 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, consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections.
Investment in Children and Family Mental Health Services
● National expansion of community behavioral health center model; major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.
Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
● Convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders are included in NICS, including those who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
Funding for School-Based Mental Health and Supportive Services
● Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs and school based mental health and wrap-around services.
Funding for School Safety Resources
● Invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.
Clarification of Definition of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer
● Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.
● Invests in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
Under 21 Enhanced Review Process
● For buyers under 21 years of age, requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.
Penalties for Straw Purchasing
● Cracks down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.
I don’t see anything in the joint release mentioning raising the age to from 18 to 21 to buy a rifle of any kind, nor creating federal red flag laws or the “boyfriend” loophole (which I’ve written about here.)
But Schumer described the deal like this:
“This important legislation will limit the ability of potential mass shooters to quickly obtain assault rifles by establishing an enhanced background check process for gun purchasers under age 21, invest in the adoption and expansion of state red flag laws, close the boyfriend loophole,
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