U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema joined Senators Chris Murphy, John Cornyn, and Thom Tillis, to announce that they reached “a major breakthrough” in gun control negotiations on Tuesday.
The text of the 80-page bill was only made public after the group announced a deal had been reached. The Senate then moved swiftly to advance the bill with the help of 14 Republicans:
“The 64 to 34 vote was a crucial step in potentially passing the legislation, signaling that it may eclipse the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster in the Senate when the bill comes up for an official vote. The bill would need the backing of 10 Republicans and all Senate Democrats to avoid a filibuster,” reported Fox News.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) June 22, 2022
The senators have dubbed the bill the “Safer Communities Act.”
The National Rifle Association issued a statement late Tuesday:
The NRA will support legislation that improves school security, promotes mental health services, and helps reduce violent crime. However, we will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level. It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners.
This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.
Decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Heller and McDonald cases make clear that the Second Amendment is an individual constitutional freedom. We will always fight for those freedoms – and the fundamental values we have defended for over 150 years.
Senator Mark Kelly offered his enthusiastic support:
Our Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will save lives, make our communities safer, and protect Arizonans’ Second Amendment rights.
Today, we’re one step closer to getting this across the finish line. I’ll keep working to get our bill signed into law. https://t.co/iTEwZ7WESP
— Senator Mark Kelly (@SenMarkKelly) June 22, 2022
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have both announced support for the bill and both say they will vote for it, according to NPR.
“Our colleagues have put together a commonsense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” McConnell said in a statement.
NPR reports that the “bill would expand background checks for prospective gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21. The new process would incentivize states to provide access to previously sealed juvenile records and could add several days to the waiting period before a purchase can be completed.”
The bill adds convicted domestic violence abusers in dating relationships to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It also creates a process for removal from NICS five years after the completion of the sentence, only if there are no intervening prohibited crimes or other crimes of violence.
“The legislation also includes incentives for states to create so-called red flag laws that would allow law enforcement or other entities to petition a court to remove guns from a person deemed to be a threat to themselves or others,” NPR explains. “The money is structured as a crisis intervention grant that can apply to red flag laws but also to states that add mental health courts and drug courts.”