US Senate on track to reach modest gun control deal

US Senate on track to reach modest gun control deal

The group focused on school safety, strengthening mental health care services, and encouraging states to grant courts the ability to temporarily remove weapons from people deemed dangerous.

A bipartisan group of US senators is due to resume talks on Thursday modest gun control billat a time when pressure is mounting in the country to contain a wave of violence that includes the recent massacres in the states of Texas and New York.

Nine senators met this week to discuss a response to the sniper attacks that are causing commotion in the country, with some optimism about the possibility of achieving reforms.

The group focused on school safety, strengthening mental health care services, and encouraging states to grant courts the ability to temporarily remove weapons from people deemed dangerous.

Moderate Republican Susan Collins said the group was making “rapid progress”, while Democratic Senator Chris Murphy declared that “I’ve never seen so many Republicans sitting at the table and willing to talk.”

“Something different is happening right now and I hope that will result in a bill in the Senate,” Murphy told MSNBC on Wednesday.

Lawmakers are aware they risk losing momentum if the urgency of reform unleashed by the massacres dissipates, and another smaller group is holding parallel discussions on expanding background checks on gun buyers.

The political challenge of legislating in an evenly divided Senate (50-50), where most bills need 60 votes to pass, means that far-reaching reforms have little chance of succeeding.

Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican senators, told reporters that congressmen were focusing on “mental health and school safety” rather than guns.

On the other hand, Democrats in the House of Representatives are willing to pass a much broader, but largely symbolic, law that would include raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.

The proposal will likely pass the House next week, before being buried by Republican opposition in the Senate.

Source: AFP

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