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A New Era of Gun Control? 20 Senators Propose Package in Bipartisan Effort to Address Shootings

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

In the wake of the Uvalde massacre and a number of recent shootings across the country, a highly-anticipated, bipartisan package for gun control was announced on Sunday by a group of senators. Deemed as a "commonsense" agreement and negotiated by Senators Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, this deal is potentially the most significant federal action regarding guns in almost 30 years. For lawmakers, the hope is that it will curtail gun violence and provide a framework for a new era of gun control in America.

The United States Capitol Buiding in Washington, D.C. / Image Source

In a joint statement from the senators who put forth the package, they said:

"Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country. 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."

Among the measures proposed in the agreement, there is an overarching emphasis on the correlation between mental health issues and the perpetrators of gun violence. It addresses this by expanding background checks to enable authorities to check the juvenile and mental health records of potential gun buyers under the age of 21, as well as their partners.

"Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons. Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans," the architects of the package continued.

Additionally, the gun safety framework would provide funding for states to enact "red-flag" laws, which would allow courts to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals who show signs of posing a threat to themselves or others.

Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas is one of the main politicians working toward reaching a bipartisan consensus on gun control. / Image Source

Although the legislation is not finalized, it is already drawing criticism from both sides: gun control advocates believe it to be too weak, while those against more gun control fear the measures would infringe upon their Second Amendment rights. One detail to note is that the proposal does not include provisions such as raising the minimum age for purchasing weapons from 18 to 21 — a hotly contested idea.

In response to the agreement, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, "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."

As the conversation surrounding gun safety has proved to be contentious and ongoing, these questions remain: What is the solution to our society's problem of rampant violence and commonplace shootings? Will this bipartisan deal be the solution?

The group of senators, comprised of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, includes the following:

Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut

John Cornyn, R-Texas

Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina

Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona

Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut

Roy Blunt, R-Missouri

Cory Booker, D-New Jersey

Richard Burr, R-North Carolina

Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana

Susan Collins, R-Maine

Chris Coons, D-Delaware

Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina

Martin Heinrich, D-Nevada

Mark Kelly, D-New Jersey

Angus King, D-Virginia

Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia

Rob Portman, R-Ohio

Mitt Romney, R-Utah

Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan

Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania

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