The bipartisan group of senators who struck a deal on gun legislation over the weekend need to stick together to sell it to colleagues with sharply different stances on gun ownership to pass any legislation this summer.
The 20 senators, 10 from each party, are looking to pass what could be the broadest legislation on guns in decades. Their "framework" aims to address illegal sales of guns and to fund mental-health programs and school security. It also provides incentives for states to implement and maintain red-flag laws and includes juvenile records in background checks for people buying guns who are under 21 years old, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Negotiators face a narrow path to writing legislative text. The bill will face questions from Republicans about Second Amendment rights and due process for removing guns from owners, and from Democrats on whether the proposals have enough teeth to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals. The cost of the bill is a question mark, with estimates in the billions of dollars but no hard figures. “We are in the process of becoming unstuck on an issue that has weighed Congress down for 30 straight years,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). There are disagreements between Republicans and Democrats on how quickly they need to move. Democrats want to hurry, worried that delays could sap momentum from the negotiations, while Republicans are moving more slowly in an area that could upset their constituents, gun-rights groups and donors. Democrats say that if the proposal passes, it would reassure GOP lawmakers that they can support some modest gun measures while not paying a heavy political price. “Republicans will vote for this measure and they will discover that the gun lobby is weaker than they think,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Still, some Republicans are waiting to see how the National Rifle Association views details of the proposal.