In a minor step in the right direction, 10 Republicans have joined 10 Democrats in announcing that the Senate will be moving forward with tentatively agreed upon “common-sense” gun reform legislation. The bipartisan group released a joint statement, which was tweeted by Axios‘ Andrew Solender:
Inbox: 20 senators announce “commonsense, bipartisan proposal” in response to Uvalde shooting.
Dems: Sinema, Murphy, Blumenthal, Booker, Coons, Heinrich, Kelly, King (I), Manchin, Stabenow.
GOP: Cornyn, Tillis, Blunt, Burr, Cassidy, Collins, Graham, Portman, Romney, Toomey. pic.twitter.com/tWOhVZyLCW
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) June 12, 2022
After two weeks of negotiations, the evenly split Senate appears to be bridging the partisan divide on gun reform at least slightly. It’s a move praised by both President Joe Biden and the usually unbudgeable Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“I continue to hope their discussions yield a bipartisan product that makes significant headway on key issues like mental health and school safety, respects the Second Amendment, earns broad support in the Senate, and makes a difference for our country,” McConnell said.
President Biden says he plans to sign the gun reform bill, legislation that Democrats hope will be delivered by June 20th. The President, who was elected on a promise of bipartisan cooperation, hailed the proposed compromise bill as “the most significant gun legislation to pass Congress in decades”, according to The Hill.
While this definitely marks some progress, it’s not to be forgotten that McConnell has spent the majority of his Senate tenure blocking any — and all — attempts to curb gun violence, a habit that Ashley Parker, senior political analyst and Washington Post bureau chief, pointed out in a Twitter post:
Mitch McConnell was a first term senator when Kentucky suffered what is still its worst mass shooting ever. How he handled it proved the early playbook for three decades of gun control obstruction. Sun A1 w @michaelscherer: https://t.co/8yXlXNfqDK
— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) May 28, 2022
The bipartisan Senate compromise was spurred by the Uvalde school massacre on May 24th that left 19 innocent children dead and by the backlash against NRA-endorsed politicians. Now, the needle is pointing in favor of those who’ve been calling for gun reform since before Columbine. Without a Democratically controlled House and Senate, this may never have come to pass – despite the carnage of the past few years at the hands of those using firearms as their weapon of choice to terrorize the American people. Gun reform advocate — and father of a victim of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL in 2018 — Fred Guttenberg reminded us of that fact in a tweet of his own.
This deal would not have been possible without a House under the leadership of @SpeakerPelosi, without a Senate under the leadership of @SenSchumer and of course @potus @JoeBiden. Our votes from the last two elections mattered. If you wish for more, VOTE in November!!!
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) June 12, 2022
Guttenberg has been extremely vocal and active in the fight for common-sense gun laws, turning tragedy into advocacy in the hopes of preventing the kind of violence and wanton action that took his daughter’s life.
While Republican Texas politicians like Gov. Greg Abbott, and Sen. Ted Cruz chose to speak at the NRA’s national convention just days after one of the worst mass shootings in the state’s — and this country’s — history, the bipartisan cries of the American people for safer schools, churches, stores, and streets may finally be heard — whether the GOP or the NRA likes it or not.
Original reporting by Alexander Bolton and Zach Schonfeld at The Hill.
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