A bipartisan gun framework has just been released, but it falls short of several significant gun control demands. As reported by NBC News, Texas Sen. John Cornyn co-led the effort alongside Sen. Chris Murphy, seemingly balancing “second amendment anxiety” with demands for action in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
In a Tweet, Murphy laid out the core aspects of the framework but noted there was still work ahead to get a final bill passed. Significant areas of agreement include:
- Clarifying what types of gun sellers need to register as such
- Closing the” boyfriend” loophole
- Funding for states to pass so-called “red flag laws” allowing law enforcement to temporarily take dangerous weapons away from people who pose a danger to others or themselves.
Other provisions would increase mental health resources and school safety funding. It is unclear precisely what is meant by school safety. But evidence shows that increasing school police does not keep students and school communities safe.
But the Senate framework pales compared to legislation previously passed in the House. Unlike the iterations of bills passed by the House, the Senate framework does not address semiautomatic rifles or raise the age for purchasing a semiautomatic rifle.
In response to recent shootings, the House “Protect Our Kids” legislative package would raise the age from 18 to 21 to purchase a semiautomatic rifle like those used in Buffalo and Uvalde. The Senate framework only requires an enhanced background check for purchasers under 21.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the framework noting the lack of meaningful Congressional action on the subject over the past 30 years. The framework agreement appears to have the backing of ten Republican Senators, which is significant given that is the number needed to overcome a filibuster.
Plain and simple, people need more than bipartisan pats on the back and grandstanding. Republican senators fail everyone when they refuse to stand up to their donors while fueling a dangerous gun culture. There’s no legitimate reason to oppose reasonable restrictions on things like high-capacity magazines.
The Senate agreement calls to mind the James Baldwin quote on progress. While referring to racial justice, it applies to situations where predominantly rich white men continue to expect people to be satisfied with dying for crumbs.
There is a generation impacted by gun violence, from school shootings to shootings in their neighborhoods, who can say the same. Those of us growing up in urban areas who came of age during the Columbine mass shooting and now have children living in fear of gun violence are tired of the inaction and tinkering.
Some of our children are now at the vanguard of this fight, demanding that elected officials value life over protecting weapons of mass destruction. The announcement comes the day after nationwide marches led by March for Our Lives and allied groups took place demanding common-sense gun reforms.
How much longer do kids who have grown up with active shooter and shelter-in-place drills need to wait for real progress?
There is a lot of talk about “hopes and prayers” and how sad it is, but now Senators have a chance to take action, and instead, they are letting bad faith arguments around the Second Amendment get in the way of meaningful change.
Increased funding for mental health and school safety is important if it is allocated to allow for real change and not just repeat tried and failed methods like more police on school grounds. With certain provisions being kicked back to the states, having legislators and state leadership in place who will prioritize
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