OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
After some lawmaker touted that a deal had been reached don the framework of new gun legislation one Republican Senator has poured cold water on it.
“Look, most of those things sound unobjectionable,” the Republican Utah Sen. Mike Less said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The issue that we have here is we don’t have a bill. That’s why I was surprised when last week, about a week ago, when you have, this gang of 20 emerged saying we have a deal. We started expecting to see a bill. Now, I personally refuse to indicate whether I — or how I will vote on a bill until after I’ve seen the text because there are a lot of things that can go wrong in legislation. I keep asking to see text, and it became apparent they didn’t have a bill. In fact, they don’t have a deal at all. What they had was agreement on a series of very broad promises.”
“Now, I know there’s some bill text that’s probably been written, but on the most contentious controversial, potentially impactful provisions, there is no language,” he said. “Without that language, you can’t ascertain whether it’s OK. But, Shannon, the important thing here is you have to be careful whenever something like this happens, that we not legislate under the heat of the moment — heat of the moment, under great emotion without looking at that text and figuring out what we’re doing. We need to be careful that we not punish law-abiding Americans for the wrongs carried out by the criminally minded and the insane.
Weeks after the Uvalde school massacre some lawmakers had announced that a deal had been reached and it was celebrated by members of both parties.
The agreement is said to be centered around increased scrutiny for gun purchasers younger than 21, increased funding for red flag laws, mental health and school security, Politico reported.
“The principles they announced today show the value of dialogue and cooperation,” Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell said.
“I continue to hope their discussion yield a bipartisan product that makes significant headway on key issues like mental health and school safety, respects the Second Amendment, earn broad support in the Senate and makes a difference for our country,” he said.
Will the final product get even more then 10 Rs?
This statement from @LeaderMcConnell — while not an endorsement — is pretty positive.
No doubt members of his conference will watch McConnell’s words and actions closely on this. pic.twitter.com/Y4Zcu0X7HH
— Gabe Fleisher (@WakeUp2Politics) June 12, 2022
Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) are the lead negotiators on the proposal, which would need 60 votes to reach the Senate floor once legislative text is completed.
More senators are poised to back the bill to demonstrate its breadth of support — to that end, a broader bipartisan group has held its own regular meetings on guns over the past three weeks since the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Those talks have included Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
The most significant piece of the proposal would subject gun buyers 21 and younger to scrutiny of their criminal and mental health records as juveniles. It’s proved tricky to write because each state has different laws governing juvenile records.
In addition to provisions on red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to seek temporary removal of firearms from an individual who is a threat to himself or others, the package is also expected to close what’s known as the “boyfriend loophole” by broadening firearms restrictions on those who have abused their romantic partners.
A Republican aide involved in the negotiations warned that the agreement, reached on Sunday, is an “agreement on principles, not legislative text.”
“The details will be critical for Republicans, particularly the firearms-related provisions,” they said. “One or more of these principles could be dropped if text is not agreed to.”
President Joe Biden wants to make gun control a key campaign issue as polls show Democrats are set for a shellacking in the midterms.
The president was talking to reporters when one asked if he had a message to the protesters in Washington DC who are marching for new gun laws.
“Keep marching. It’s important. Look, this has to become an election issue. The way people listen — senators, congressmen — is when people say this is going to affect my vote. Too many people are dying needlessly and what’s even being proposed in the House and the Senate, it’s marginal. It’s important but it’s not all that needs to be done … the answer is, march,” he said.
“We’re still mildly optimistic, I spoke with (Senator Chris) Murphy several times, yesterday afternoon,” he said.