Journal Times editorial: Finally, a breakthrough on gun reform laws πŸ’₯πŸ‘©πŸ‘©πŸ’₯

With the support of 10 Republican senators, nine Democrats and one independent, a breakthrough agreement last Sunday gives hope for the first significant new U.S. gun laws in decades.

The framework of the agreement on a firearms safety bill includes federal support for state β€œred flag” laws keeping firearms from potentially dangerous people, tougher criminal background checks – including juvenile records – for gun buyers under age 21 and a crackdown on β€œstraw purchases” by people buying weapons for others who could not pass a background check.

The compromise agreement by Republicans and Democrats comes in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school massacre that left 19 children and two teachers dead and a mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y. food market in which 10 black people were killed and three others were wounded.

The support of the 10 Republicans who worked with the Democrats to craft the framework is significant because it would mean that – if the coalition holdsβ€”the gun reforms would have enough support to withstand the Senate’s filibuster rule which requires 60 of the 100 senators to agree before legislation advances.

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While the bipartisan consensus is welcome news, the hard part now will be putting together the actual language of the reform legislation.

President Joe Biden lauded the compromise package, but lamented that it did not go as far as he had asked. Biden had called for reviving the assault weapons ban that prohibited the manufacture, transfer and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons. That law expired in 2004.

β€œIt does not do everything that I think is needed,” the president said. β€œBut it reflects important steps in the right direction and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”

The package also contains provisions for additional funding for mental health and suicide prevention programs, school-based mental health services – including early identification and intervention programs – and school safety resource funding.

We had hoped the gun reform package would have included a ban on high-capacity magazines that shoot as many as 30 rounds of bullets and have been much favored in past shooting massacres – but that was left out. We hoped, too, that negotiators would have proposed closing the federal law loophole that allows many sales over the internet and at gun shows to go unchecked. But, no.

Still, the breakthrough contains much that is good and we hope the details come together quickly and passage from Congress comes swiftly. It is too bad that it took another school massacre and a targeted racist attack on a community food store to spur the creation of this package.

Journal Times editorial: Finally, a breakthrough on gun reform laws

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