Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to date with the most essential news from Texas.
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Texan John Cornyn, announced on Sunday the framework for a legislative agreement to address gun violence following the May 24 mass shooting that killed 19 and two teachers in an elementary school in Uvalde.
“Today, we are announcing a common-sense bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence in our country,” said a joint statement from the bipartisan negotiating group that included Cornyn and nine other Republican senators. “Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure that dangerous criminals and those deemed mentally ill cannot purchase guns.”
“Most importantly, our plan saves lives while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” the press release read. “We look forward to winning broad bipartisan support and getting our common sense proposal into law.”
The fact that 10 Republican senators have signed on to the plan builds confidence that a potential bill will exceed the 60-vote threshold needed to circumvent a filibuster threat.
Sources involved in the negotiations warn there is no legislative text on the deal yet and its prospects remain shaky as the Senate heads into what is expected to be a frantic week.
The tentative agreement will urge states to enact “red flag” laws, designed to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others; increase funding for mental health services, telehealth resources and greater school safety; allowing the inclusion of juvenile records in background checks for buyers under 21 and cracking down on straw buying and gun smuggling.
A new red flag law in Texas seems unlikely. Governor Greg Abbott briefly floated the idea after the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. But he quickly dropped it after saying he saw a “coalescence” in the Texas Legislature against the proposal. Since then, the legislature has been aggressive in expanding gun rights, including passing a law allowing people to carry handguns without a license.
Over the past two decades, few challenges have stalled the US Senate on the scale of gun regulation. But in the weeks since the Uvalde and Buffalo massacres, many senators have professed their determination to find a way to pass a gun bill, with the state’s senior senator leading the charge. .
Still, the proposal will likely frustrate many gun control advocates, who have called for measures such as raising the age at which people can buy AR-15-type weapons from 18 to 21.
The US House of Representatives last week passed a set of gun control laws that are sure to fail the Senate. Democrats report that nearly every gun bill passed by the Senate — even small ones — will receive a positive reception in the House chamber.
CNN reported details earlier on Sunday.
Join us September 22-24 in person in downtown Austin for The Texas Tribune Festival and participate in over 100 conversational events featuring big names you know and others you should know from the worlds of politics, public policy, media and tech, all curated by the journalists award winners from the Texas Tribune. To buy tickets.