In a seminal move, a bipartisan group of 20 senators of the United States, led by Democrat leader Chris Murphy and Republican leader John Cornyn, on Sunday, 13 June, announced that they had come to a "breakthrough agreement" to curb gun violence.
Setting a precedent, 10 Republican senators agreed to the proposal on gun laws, meaning that any legislation based on its principles stands a good chance of preventing a filibuster on the Senate floor.
"Today, we are announcing a common sense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence across our country," the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
"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 statement said.
The proposal comes after 19 children and two teachers lost their lives in the deadly Texas school shooting on 24 May.
'Let's Get This Done': US Prez Biden Hails Proposal
Hailing the agreement, US President Joe Biden said that it would be the "most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades," and pledged to sign it.
"I want to thank Senator Chris Murphy and the bipartisan group for their gun safety proposal. It does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction. With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay. Let’s get this done," he tweeted.
What Does the Proposal Include?
Senator Murphy listed some of the points included in the proposal, which focuses on background checks for young gun buyers, closing of the 'boyfriend loophole', and funding for school safety, among other things.
This will be a difference-making tool to stop the flow of illegal guns into cities.
The legislation will provide for "major funding to help states pass and implement crisis intervention orders (red flag laws) that will allow law enforcement to temporarily take dangerous weapons away from people who pose a danger to others or themselves," Murphy noted in a Twitter thread.
The legislation seeks to "close the “boyfriend loophole," so that no domestic abuser – a spouse OR a serious dating partner – can buy a gun if they are convicted of abuse against their partner," said Murphy.
Further, young buyers, under the age of 21, will only be able to purchase a gun after an enhanced background check is completed.
"Will this bill do everything we need to end our nation's gun violence epidemic? No. But it’s real, meaningful progress. And it breaks a 30 year log jam, demonstrating that Democrats and Republicans can work together in a way that truly saves lives," asserted the senator.
The legislation may become the first ever federal law against gun trafficking and straw purchasing.