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Advocates, survivors applaud ‘new beginning’ with Senate’s gun deal — but want more done

(WASHINGTON) — Gun safety advocates and organizations on Sunday quickly applauded the anti-gun violence framework announced by a bipartisan group of senators — but some called for further action.

The agreement, if passed into law, includes provisions that would increase investments in mental health services and fund school safety resources as well as expand the federal background check system. It would also incentivize creating “red flag” laws to prevent people who are a danger to themselves or others from having firearms.

Recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, have renewed efforts to pass legislation intended to address gun violence.

However, the deal released Sunday reflected how narrowly Democrats control Congress, in that it mixed modest new gun restrictions — rather than the broader bans favored by the party — with other provisions in order to earn a filibuster-proof amount of Republican votes.

Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, a mass shooting survivor, wrote on Twitter, “Eleven years ago, a bullet changed my life forever. Six of my constituents were killed, several more injured. And Congress has failed to get anything done since.”

“But today, our country takes an important step forward with the announcement of a bipartisan framework on gun safety. This bipartisan agreement on gun safety could be the first time in 30 years that Congress takes major action on gun safety,” she continued.

Giffords was shot in the head at a meeting with constituents near Tucson, Arizona, in 2011.

Other gun control advocates also praised the Senate deal — which is pending a further agreement on the draft bill itself — but called on Congress to do more.

“In a less broken society, we would be able to require background checks every single time someone wants to buy a gun, and we would ban assault rifles outright,” said March for Our Lives co-founder David Hogg, who was a student during the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“But if even one life is saved or one attempted mass shooting is prevented because of these regulations, we believe that it is worth fighting for … This bill, the first of its kind in 30 years, should be the beginning and not the end of Congress’ work,” Hogg said in his statement.

Likewise, gun reform supporter Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime, was killed at Parkland, also tweeted measured approval: “While much is not in this, the result is a 30 year breakthrough. This is gun safety legislation that will save lives and reduce the instances of gun violence.”

Nicole Hockley, who lost her son, Dylan, in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, also said she supported the compromise.

Hockley serves as the CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise gun violence prevention organization. She tweeted: “It won’t solve all gun violence, but proves we can work together and represents the most significant new federal firearms restrictions enacted since the mid-1990s.”

Some national organizations emphasized how the new framework could break through a years-long stalemate on gun legislation in Congress, where conservatives say they don’t want to violate their interpretation of the Second Amendment.

“This is a historic, new beginning that breaks the stranglehold of the gun industry … This framework is laudable, but it is not the end of our effort. We will not rest until this framework becomes satisfactory legislation and President Biden signs that legislation into law,” Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence President Kris Brown said in a statement.

In a joint statement of their own, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action called the deal “historic.”

“If the framework announced today gets enacted into law, it will be the most significant piece of gun safety legislation to make it through Congress in 26 long and deadly years,” the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, John Feinblatt, said.

“We’re breaking the logjam in Congress and proving that gun safety isn’t just good policy – it’s good politics,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts said in her statement.

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