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Senate Gun Agreement Features Red-Flag Law Aid, Mental Health

Senate negotiators reached a long-awaited deal on a bipartisan gun safety bill to take firearms away from dangerous people and provide billions of dollars in new mental health funding, The Hill reports. The legislation represents a rare moment of bipartisan agreement on the charged issues of gun violence and gun control, breaking nearly 30 years of stalemate. The bill does not ban assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines or significantly expand background-check requirements for gun purchases, reforms that were top Democratic priorities a decade ago. It does give states more resources to take guns away from dangerous individuals, even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime, and authorizes billions of dollars in funding for mental health treatment.

Lawmakers say their goal was to prevent mass shootings, such as the mass-casualty events that left 10 people dead at a Buffalo supermarket and 21 dead at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tx. “I want to make sure we actually do something useful, something that is capable of becoming a law, something that will have the potential to save lives,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-SD) said the legislation is likely to pass because 10 Republican senators have already signed off on the framework of principles upon which the bill is based. Negotiators broke through a stalemate over language to close the so-called boyfriend loophole, which bogged down the talks last week. First-time offenders of misdemeanor domestic violence would have their right to own a firearm five years after completing their sentences as long as they aren’t convicted of any other violent crime during that period. Erick Erickson, a conservative radio host and pundit, warned that red-flag laws "are going to start being used to attack people because of their political opinions.” Senators say there would be a swift adjudication process to give gun owners a chance to dispute and defeat a court order taking away their firearms.


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