US senators announce limited deal on gun violence measures

A protester holds a sign in Washington, DC on June 11, 2022 during a protest calling for action on gun violence in America FILES) In this file photo taken on June 11, 2022 gun control advocates participate in the “March for Our Lives” as they protest against gun violence during a rally near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC. A bipartisan group of US senators on June 12, 2022 announced measures aimed at curbing rampant gun violence plaguing the country, but the limited proposals fall far short of changes called for by the president.

A bipartisan group of US senators on Sunday proposed steps to curb gun violence following devastating mass shootings in Texas and New York, but the limited measures fall far short of the president’s calls for change.

The shootings in May — one at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 young children and two teachers, and another at a New York supermarket that left 10 Black people dead — have piled pressure on politicians to take action.

The new proposals include tougher background checks for gun buyers under 21, increasing resources for states to keep weapons out of the hands of people deemed a risk, and cracking down on illegal gun purchases.

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“Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons.”

President Joe Biden praised the announcement and urged lawmakers to pass it quickly, while making clear that the proposals do not go far enough.

“With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it should not quickly move through the Senate and the House.”

The president had pushed for more substantive reforms, including a ban on assault rifles — which were used in both the Texas and New York shootings — or at least an increase in the age at which they can be purchased.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a broad package of proposals that included raising the purchasing age for most semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.

Frequent mass shootings have led to widespread outrage in the United States, where a majority of people support tighter gun laws, but opposition from many Republican lawmakers and voters has long been a hurdle to major changes.

“The media, leftist politicians, and gun-hating activists are bullying NRA members and gun owners because they want us to give up. We won’t bend a knee,” the lobby tweeted on Saturday.

“The will of the American people is being subverted by a minority,” said protestor Cynthia Martins, a 63-year-old resident of the US capital. “Hand wringing is not going to do anything — you have to make your voice heard.”

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