Will it pass?
“Bipartisan Group of Senators Announce Agreement,” began a press statement released by the group.
With great trepidation, voters and elected representatives of both parties greedily read through the bill, which will likely face a vote soon in the Senate.
Whether or not the bill will clear the first hurdle- that is getting 60 Senators to vote to pass it- is far from certain, however.
If the bill does manage to pass the Senate, the Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives may be inclined to follow suit after a spate of mass shootings shook the U.S. recently.
President Joe Biden has indicated his willingness to sign sensible gun control measures into law, though he will likely criticize the bill for not going nearly far enough to curb gun violence in America.
It is a criticism sure to be echoing across the internet tomorrow, and across the insulate echo-chambers of social media platforms tonight.
The bill does nothing to ban assault weapons and does not raise the minimum age required to purchase a rifle.
Likewise, Republicans are scanning the bill for any sign of their biggest objections, namely red-flag laws they argue are extra-judicial, lack the oversight of due-process and could be used against political opponents to stifle political dissent.
Neither Republicans staunchly opposed to gun control nor Democrats enthusiastically in favor of it are likely to be big cheerleaders for this bill. It is the kind of compromise neither “side” is unusually happy with, which is usually the mark of a good compromise.
For the rest of America’s middle majority, this news may bring a bit of relief from the relentless drumbeat of tragedy, bitten partisan acrimony and sensationalistic news coverage.
The two-party political system is something great leaders in American history warned against; but two constantly vying political parties does offer one major benefit.
Anything both parties do manage to agree upon has a much better chance of being in the best interest of everyone.
The list of Senators who backed this bill is as follows:
U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R- N.C.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (D-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I- Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
“Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” announced the Senators. “Families are sacred, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities.”
“Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” the press release read. “Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law.”
The bill includes provisions like, “Intervention Orders,” which, “provides resources to states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others, consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections.”
It also includes, “Investment in Children and Family Mental Health Services,” such as, “national expansion of community behavioral health center model; major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.”
The bill provides, “Protections for Victims of Domestic Abuse.”
“Convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders are included in the NICS,” reads the bill, “including those who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”
The bipartisan coalition of Senators who put together this bill included, “Funding for School-Based Mental Health and Supportive Services,” which, “Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs and school based mental health wrap-around services.”
Other provisions include:
Funding for School Safety Resources
“Invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.”
Clarification of Definition of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer
“Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.”
“Invests in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via Telehealth.”
Under 21 Enhanced Review Process
“For buyers under 21 years of age, requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.”
Penalties for Straw Purchasing
“Cracks down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.”
Critics are sure to point out this bill doesn’t go nearly far enough to curb gun violence. Supporters may point out that this bill hasn’t even survived the process of becoming law, and might not.
Before tackling anything larger or greater in scope, this first hurdle might need to be overcome first.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)