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Modest Gun Curbs, Aid For Schools, Mental Health in Senate Deal

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

A bipartisan group of senators reached a tentative agreement on legislation that would pair modest gun restrictions with significant mental health and school security investments, reports the Washington Post. The deal that could lead to enactment of the most significant national response in decades to acts of mass gun violence.

Ten Democrats and 10 Republicans signed a statement announcing the framework deal. That could mean enough GOP support to defeat a filibuster.

Key Senate GOP members who backed the proposal are Sens. Roy Blunt (MO), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Burr (NC) and Mitt Romney (UT), the Hill reports. Blunt, Portman and Burr are all retiring at the end of the year.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had not jumped fully on board Sunday.

“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 statement said. “Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”

Under the deal, a federal grant program would encourage states to implement “red flag” laws that allow authorities to keep guns away from people found by a judge to represent a potential threat to themselves or others/

Federal background checks for gun buyers under 21 would include a mandatory search of juvenile justice and mental health records for the first time.

Other provisions would prevent gun sales to domestic violence offenders beyond just spouses, closing the “boyfriend loophole”; clarify which gun sellers are required to register as federal firearms dealers and run background checks on their customers; and establish new federal offenses related to gun trafficking.

The agreement does not include a provision supported by President Biden that would raise the minimum age for the purchase of at least some rifles from 18 to 21. Handguns are already subject to a federal 21-and-over age limit.

Other provisions would funnel billions of new federal dollars into mental health care and school security programs, behavioral intervention programs, new campus infrastructure and armed officers.

Part of the deal is legislation sponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to establish a nationwide network of “community behavioral health clinics.”

The deal came a day after thousands attended pro-gun-control rallies organized by the student-led March for Our Lives group Sunday was the sixth anniversary of one of the killing of 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.


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