US senators unveil potential gun control legislation

Bipartisan group hails 'commonsense' proposal that will 'save lives'

Demonstrators attend a March for Our Lives rally against gun violence an the National Mall in Washington DC on June 11, 2022. AFP
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A bipartisan group of US senators announced on Sunday that it has agreed on a framework for potential legislation on gun safety. This includes support for state "red flag" laws, tougher background checks for firearms buyers under 21, and a campaign against a practice called "straw purchases."

"Our plan saves lives, while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans," the group, led by Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican John Cornyn, said in a statement.

"We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law."

The talks followed a series of high-profile mass shootings in the US, including one at a school in Uvalde, Texas, last month that killed 19 young children and one also in May in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York that killed 10 black victims.

The shooters in those attacks were both 18, and many of the gunmen who have committed mass shootings in recent years have been young.

The proposal falls far short of tougher steps long sought by President Joe Biden and many Democrats. Even so, if the accord leads to the enactment of legislation, it would signal a shift from years of gun massacres that have yielded little but stalemate in Congress.

The agreement was announced a day after tens of thousands in Washington and at hundreds of other places across the US rallied to demand that lawmakers pass legislation aimed at curbing gun violence.

Mr Biden, who was in California when Saturday's Washington rally began, said his message to demonstrators was “keep marching”. He added that he is “mildly optimistic” about legislative negotiations to address gun violence.

Updated: June 13, 2022, 5:14 AM