(NewsNation) — Senate bargainers announced a bipartisan framework Sunday responding to last month’s mass shootings, a modest breakthrough offering measured gun curbs and bolstered efforts to improve school safety and mental health programs.
President Joe Biden released a statement Sunday shortly after the announcement of the gun deal, thanking Senator Chris Murphy and the members of his bipartisan group for their tireless work and effort to produce the proposal.
“Obviously, it does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” Biden said in the statement.
The proposal falls far short of tougher steps long sought by President Joe Biden and many Democrats. Even so, if the accord leads to the enactment of legislation, it would signal a turn from years of gun massacres that have yielded little but stalemate in Congress.
“Exact details still need to be ironed out with this plan, but Democrats and Republicans are very optimistic a deal can be reached,” NewsNation’s Tom Dempsey said during an appearance on NewsNation Prime.
Leaders hope to push any agreement into law quickly — they hope this month — before the political momentum fades that has been stirred by the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
In a significant development, 20 senators, including 10 Republicans, released a statement calling for passage. That is potentially crucial because the biggest obstacle to enacting the measure is probably in the 50-50 Senate, where at least 10 GOP votes will be needed to attain the usual 60-vote threshold for approval.
“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 lawmakers said.
The compromise would make the juvenile records of gun buyers under age 21 available when they undergo background checks. The suspects who killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo and 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde were both 18, and many of the attackers who have committed mass shootings in recent years have been young.
This does not raise the legal age to purchase firearms to 21 years old.
The agreement would offer money to states to implement “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily take guns from people considered potentially violent, and to bolster school safety and mental health programs.
And it would take other steps, including requiring more people who sell guns obtain federal dealers’ licenses, which means they would have to conduct background checks of purchasers.
Given the bipartisan support, “there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it should not quickly move through the Senate and the House,” Biden said.
“I think you have gun control activists, Democrats and some Republicans saying, ‘This is a breakthrough,'” The Hill’s Julia Manchester said during an appearance on NewsNation Prime.
Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who serves as chairman of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee, offered words of praise for the agreement.
“We have been elected to the United States Senate to respond to American crises. Each of the elements in this bipartisan gun safety package has the potential to save lives. I continue to believe military-style assault weapons that can shred the bodies of their victims have no place in civilian use—but we cannot let the perfect Congressional response be the enemy of the good,” he said in a statement. “Though this agreement falls short in this and other respects, it can and will make our nation safer.”
Gun control groups also applauded the deal. “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,” Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt said.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered praise for the negotiations. “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,” he said.
This announcement comes amid nationwide marches calling for gun control after mass shootings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.