FILE PHOTO: A general view of the U.S. Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 9, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo
(Reuters) — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators said on Sunday they had reached an agreement on a framework for gun safety legislation, potentially the first significant new U.S. gun law in decades, following a string of recent high-profile mass shootings.
Below are some highlights of what is and what is not covered by the agreement, according to a statement from the group of lawmakers that includes 10 Republicans, enough to overcome the Senate’s «filibuster» rule:
IN: STATE CRISIS INTERVENTION SUPPORT
The proposal would provide resources to states and Native American tribes to create and administer «red flag» measures intended to ensure weapons are kept out of the hands of people whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others. These measures would be consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections.
OUT: ASSAULT-WEAPONS BAN
During an impassioned June 2 speech, Democratic President Joe Biden urged Congress to re-impose the federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, which prohibited the manufacture, transfer and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons and the transfer and possession of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. That measure faces staunch opposition from Republicans in Congress and is not in the framework agreement released on Sunday.
IN: ENHANCED REVIEW PROCESS FOR BUYERS UNDER 21
The framework calls for an investigative period to review the juvenile criminal and mental health records for gun buyers under 21 years of age. This would include checks with state databases and local law enforcement.
OUT: HIGHER AGE REQUIREMENT TO BUY SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES
The proposal does not include a provision to raise the age for buying a semiautomatic rifle to 21 nationwide. Currently the minimum age to buy is 18. Federal law already prohibits anyone younger than 21 legally buying a handgun.
IN: PENALTIES FOR STRAW PURCHASES
If passed, the new law would crack down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns. A straw purchase occurs when a person buys a weapon for someone who is not legally allowed to buy one.
OUT: FEDERAL BACKGROUND CHECK EXPANSION
The framework does not include proposals to expand federal background checks to buy a weapon from three to 10 days. It also does not close a loophole in federal law that allows many sales over the internet and at gun shows to go unchecked.
IN: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, TELEHEALTH INVESTMENTS
The proposal would expand community behavioral health center models and makes investments to increase mental health and suicide prevention program access. It also would help fund crisis and trauma intervention and recovery services and makes investments in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
OUT: REPEAL OF LIABILITY SHIELD
The proposed framework makes no mention of amending or repealing a federal liability shield that protects gun manufacturers from being sued for violence carried out by people carrying, and shooting, their guns.
IN: CLARIFICATION ON DEFINITION OF LICENSED DEALER
The framework would also clarify the definition of a federally licensed firearms dealer and crack down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.
IN: PROTECTIONS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Those who are convicted of domestic violence crimes and face domestic violence restraining orders would be subject to criminal background checks for gun purchases under the proposal.
IN: SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH AND SUPPORT SERVICES FUNDING
The proposed framework calls for funding to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs.
IN: SCHOOL SAFETY RESOURCE FUNDING
Under the proposal, federal funds would go to programs that help primary and secondary schools create safety measures, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.