Senate Republican and Democratic negotiators divided over arms deal details

Democratic and Republican senators were at odds Thursday on how to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people as negotiators scrambled to finalize details of a compromise on gun violence in time for a self-imposed deadline to hold votes in the Congress next week.

Lawmakers said they remained divided on how to define abusive dating partners so that they would be legally barred from purchasing firearms. Disagreements also remained unresolved over proposals to send money to states that have “red flag” laws that allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from people deemed dangerous by the courts, and to other states for their own crime prevention programs. violence.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, one of the GOP’s top negotiators, seemed visibly unhappy as he left Thursday’s closed-door session after nearly two hours, saying he was flying home. Election year negotiations were prompted by mass shootings last month at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which a total of 31 people were killed.

“This is the hardest part because at some point, you just have to make a decision. And when people don’t want to make a decision, you can’t get the result. And that’s where we are right now,” Cornyn said.

“I’m not frustrated, I’m done,” he added, though he said he was open to further discussions.

Lawmakers have said a deal must be completed and written into legislative language by the end of this week if Congress is to vote on the legislation next week, after which a July 4 recess begins. Leaders want votes by then because Washington has a long history of talking about responding to mass shootings, only to see the interest of lawmakers and voters fade quickly over time.

Other negotiators sounded more optimistic, saying much of the overall package had been agreed upon and aides were drafting legislative language.

“A deal like this is tough,” Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, one of the lead Democratic negotiators, said as the meeting ended later. “It comes with a lot of emotions, it comes with political risk for both sides. But we’re close enough that we can get there.”

The measure would place only small-scale restrictions on firearms. It lacks proposals from President Joe Biden and Democrats to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in Buffalo and Uvalde, or to raise the legal age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21. years.

Still, it would be the strongest action by Congress against gun violence since 1993. A ban lawmakers enacted that year on assault weapons took effect in 1994 and expired after a decade. Dozens of high-profile mass shootings since then have produced little from Washington except a partisan standoff, largely because Republicans blocked virtually any new restrictions.

Twenty senators, 10 from each party, agreed on the outlines of a compromise measure last weekend. Lead negotiators: Murphy, Cornyn, and Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, RN.C. — have worked ever since to translate it into details.

His framework would also include access to juvenile records for gun buyers ages 18 to 20. Both shooters in Buffalo and Uvalde were 18 years old and both used AR-15-style automatic rifles, which can be loaded with high-capacity magazines.

The plan would also include additional spending for mental health and school safety programs, tougher penalties for gun trafficking and requirements for more gun dealers to obtain federal firearms licenses.

The deal has been endorsed by Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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