A bipartisan deal to ban assault weapons and regulate guns could become law this month. Senators from both parties have indicated they’re open to bipartisan negotiations, and a bipartisan agreement could mark the biggest change in gun safety legislation in decades. What’s next? A deal could get a full Senate vote, but not until the legislative text is finalized. The upcoming deadline for finalizing the text of the bill is April 30.
While the bipartisan agreement on gun bills is limited, it could mark a high watermark for the GOP’s support of commonsense measures on guns. The Manchin-Toomey gun legislation, which strengthened background checks, was stalled by a small group of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. But it’s the closest thing the Senate has gotten to a bipartisan deal since the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. The most recent gun law strengthened the background check system, while lawmakers from both parties have resisted legislation in the past.
The Senate is evenly divided, with each party holding 50 seats. But the gun debate has become a hot topic since Sandy Hook and the recent shooting at an elementary school in Texas. The Brady deal, which is unlikely to pass the Senate, still requires the support of all 50 Democrats. In addition to Republicans, the bipartisan group also needs the support of two independent senators. But there are signs of progress. If it works in the Senate, the issue could move to a higher level of debate.
The Senate must vote on the legislation to finalize the final legislative text. However, senators have been optimistic about the bipartisan agreement. Depending on the outcome of the bipartisan agreement, the bill will probably pass. If it doesn’t, it may face a long delay. They must also work out the final language of the legislation, which could take several weeks. Even then, no votes are expected before the end of the month.
The deal has a few flaws. Universal background checks are still in doubt, as are restrictions on military-style weapons and large capacity magazines. But the deal’s bipartisan support should help it make its way through the Senate and House. Recent shootings in Florida and Buffalo have put political pressure on Congress to take action. The bipartisan agreement, however, is a step in the right direction, and it’s not enough to guarantee a sane future.
In addition to requiring a background check on anyone purchasing a firearm under the age of 21 years old, the bill would also encourage states to pass red flag laws, which restrict the purchase of guns by suspected violent threats. It would also require federal background checks for all gun buyers under 21 years old, which could include searches for juvenile records. Additionally, the bill would also increase funding for mental health services and school safety programs.
While the deal falls far short of President Joe Biden’s demands, it represents an important step forward for gun safety legislation. In addition to the gun legislation, the bipartisan group also included Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who has become a leading voice in gun reform since the Sandy Hook shooting. If the Senate passes the legislation, the bipartisan agreement will go into effect. If the bill becomes law, it will require a majority of votes from both parties to be passed.