A bipartisan group of United States senators announced on Sunday an agreement to curb gun violence after mass shootings in Texas and New York, but the measures included in the pact are far from the requests made by President Joe Biden.
Agreement includes tougher background checks for gun buyers under 21increased resources for states to keep these weapons out of the hands of people considered at risk and combat illegal trade.
“Today we are announcing a common-sense bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” the group of 20 Democratic and Republican lawmakers said in a statement.
“Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and student support, and helps ensure that dangerous criminals and those considered mentally ill cannot purchase guns,” they said.
Senators also called for more investment in mental health services and school safety.as well as the inclusion of domestic violence convictions and restraining orders in the national background check database.
Biden welcomed the announcement and urged lawmakers to pass it quickly, though he made clear the measures don’t go as far as he wanted.
“It’s obviously not all that I think is needed, but it does reflect important steps in the right direction, and would be the most important gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” the president said in a statement.
“With bipartisan support, there is no excuse for delay,” he added.
The president had called for much more substantial reforms, such as a ban on the public sale of assault rifles. or at least an increase in the authorized age to buy them, as well as reinforcing customer background checks.
The Democratic-controlled (lower) House of Representatives passed a sweeping package of proposals that included raising the purchase age for most semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.
But the party does not have the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate, leaving the bipartisan deal as the only hope for federal action to tackle widespread gun violence.
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