Politics

“Today, we are announcing a common-sense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence across our country.”

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, speaks to the press on June 7, 2022, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Schumer pledged to put the agreement up for a vote once the legislation had been completed. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

By Emily Cochrane and Annie Karni, New York Times Service

WASHINGTON — Senate negotiators announced Sunday that they had struck a bipartisan deal on a narrow set of gun safety measures with sufficient support to move through the evenly divided chamber, a significant step toward ending a yearslong congressional impasse on the issue.

The agreement, put forth by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats and endorsed by President Joe Biden and top Democrats, includes enhanced background checks to give authorities time to check the juvenile and mental health records of any prospective gun buyer under the age of 21 and a provision that would, for the first time, extend to dating partners a bar on domestic abusers having guns.

It would also provide funding for states to implement so-called red-flag laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous, as well as money for mental health resources and to boost safety and mental health services at schools.

The outline, which has yet to be finalized, falls far short of the sprawling reforms that Biden, gun control activists and a majority of Democrats have long championed, such as a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks. And it is nowhere near as sweeping as a package of gun measures passed almost along party lines in the House last week.

“Today, we are announcing a common-sense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence across our country,” the 20 senators, led by Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a joint statement.

The backing of 10 Republicans suggested that the plan could scale an obstacle that no other proposal currently under discussion has been able to: drawing the 60 votes necessary to break through a GOP filibuster and survive to see an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader who has played a central role in stymieing gun safety measures in recent years, praised what he called “headway” in the discussions even as he was noncommittal about whether he would support the package.

Aides cautioned that until the legislation was finalized, it was not certain that each of the components could draw the 60 votes necessary to move forward.

Biden urged Congress to pass a bill quickly, saying there were “no excuses for delay.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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