US Senate negotiators reach agreement on bipartisan gun violence bill in wake of Uvalde, Buffalo mass shootings

US Senate negotiators reach agreement on bipartisan gun violence bill in wake of Uvalde, Buffalo mass shootings

US Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a bipartisan gun violence bill.

The deal tees up votes this week on a package that would stand as Congress’s response to recent mass shootings in Texas and New York.

Nine days after Senate negotiators agreed to a framework proposal — and 29 years after Congress last enacted major firearms curbs — Democratic senator Chris Murphy told reporters a final accord on the proposal’s details had been reached and was “in good shape”.

Moments later, Texas Republican senator John Cornyn, the chief Republican bargainer, said he, Mr Murphy and the other two top Senate negotiators had reached agreement.

The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks, and beef up penalties for gun traffickers.

It also would give states and communities money for improving school safety and mental health initiatives.

White crosses and many flowers surround the school sign at Robb Elementary after a massacre, police in background
Nineteen students and two teachers died in the Uvalde mass shooting.(AP Photo: Jae C. Hong)

It lacks the far more potent proposals that President Joe Biden supports and Democrats have pushed for years without success, which have been derailed by Republican opposition.

These include banning assault-type weapons or raising the minimum age for buying them, prohibiting high-capacity magazines and requiring background checks for virtually all gun sales.

Yet if enacted, the election-year agreement would spotlight a modest but telling shift in the politics of an issue that has defied compromise since Bill Clinton was president.

Ten black shoppers were killed by a gunman last month in Buffalo, New York, and 19 children and two teachers were shot dead by another assailant days later in Uvalde, Texas.

“I believe that the same people who are telling us to do something are sending us a clear message, to do what we can to keep our children and communities safe.

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