U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy comments on Texas school shooting Credit: Courtesy of C-SPAN

Negotiators in the U.S. Senate announced Sunday that they’ve struck a historic bipartisan deal on gun reforms that will crack down on criminals who illegally purchase guns and add stronger background checks for those under the age of 21 who want to purchase a firearm. 

The agreement is expected to have enough support to override a filibuster, but will fall short of what some had hoped, including President Joe Biden who called for an assault weapons ban. 

“Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities,” the working group of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans said in a press release. “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. Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law.”

The summary released by the group says the Senators agreed on tougher penalties for “criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns,” but how exactly it will be implemented is still unknown. 

The agreement also says it will create an “enhanced review” process for those under the age of 21 who want to obtain a firearm. 

The two deadliest school shootings, Sandy Hook Elementary School and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, featured 18 year old gunmen. 

“For buyers under 21 years of age, requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement,” the summary states. 

The summary also says the legislation will provide resources to states to administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has deemed to be a risk to themselves or others, otherwise known as the red flag law. 

The agreement will also include help for domestic violence victims by making sure anyone with a domestic violence restraining order is included in the background check system. 

And it includes resources for mental health. 

It does not include what’s come to be known as Ethan’s Law in Connecticut, which requires safe storage of firearms, or a ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. 

Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, praised the agreement. 

“The gun safety measures being included in the proposed package uphold Second Amendment rights while also offering proven, common-sense reforms that can be immediately put to work to protect our children and communities. I urge the Senate to move quickly crafting the details of the bill and moving to a vote,” Barden said. “And I ask every citizen to demand Congress support this package — and do not stop until it hits President Biden’s desk. Precious lives are depending on our collective action.”

Gov. Ned Lamont also thanked U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal for their participation in the process. 

“This framework is in line with many of the commonsense measures we have in Connecticut, which promote responsible gun ownership while keeping our residents, especially our children, safe,” Lamont said.