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Senators Focus on Juvenile Records In Talks On Possible Gun Control Bill

Senate Democratic and Republican negotiators focused on a narrow set of proposals designed to keep guns away from potentially dangerous young adults as President Biden and leaders of both parties said they were encouraged by progress in the discussions so far. Senate Republican negotiators have signaled openness to closer scrutiny of juvenile records while sidelining a proposal to raise the minimum age to buy certain weapons to 21 years old, the Wall Street Journal reports. After recent mass shootings, a bipartisan group of senators is trying to find consensus on gun control measures. Any legislation would need at least 60 votes to advance, under Senate filibuster rules. The White House said Biden was likely to accept any deal, even if small.

Negotiators say they are exploring an extended waiting period for people under 21 that would give those who conduct background checks time to access confidential juvenile records that could reveal mental health problems or criminal histories. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said that the waiting period for people under 21 could be two to three weeks long, at a minimum, to give investigators time to determine whether any juvenile records might be disqualifying. Questions remained about how such a program would be implemented and what the legal process would be for gaining access to such records, which are typically sealed or expunged once people turn 18. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the lead Republican negotiator, said the National Instant Background Check system has the capacity to accept such records and that lawmakers are looking at ways to motivate states to upload them. Cornyn doesn't believe there are enough votes to get other commonly-discussed proposals passed, such as raising the age for purchasing semiautomatic rifles and banning high-capacity magazines.


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