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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Moving Forward With Bipartisan Gun Safety Legislation

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding moving forward with gun safety legislation for the first time in decades following the release of a bipartisan framework that if implemented will help save lives, keep our communities safe, and provide a foundation for a more sensible approach to gun safety in the future. Leader Schumer also reiterated his intention to hold a vote on the Senate floor once there is legislative text for the bipartisan gun safety framework. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

As we speak, the United States Senate is working on something not seen since the time we passed the Brady Bill I authored nearly three decades ago: a bipartisan effort to draft meaningful gun safety legislation.

For decades, the rhythms of the gun debate in Congress have followed a dispiriting pattern: a mass shooting takes place somewhere in America, innocent people are slaughtered, families grieve and demand action, but gridlock takes over and nothing – nothing – gets done. This was the cycle of inaction after Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charleston, Parkland, El Paso, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and so many others.

But after Uvalde and Buffalo, perhaps this time could be different. To many Senators on both sides, this debate certainly feels different. With Sunday’s announcement of a bipartisan framework for gun legislation, we are farther down the road to gun safety reform than we have been in a long time. I spoke with Senators Cornyn and Murphy this morning and they updated me on their progress. They are working with the urgency the situation demands and they are hopeful the legislative text can be finalized in the coming days.

I have assured my colleagues that once we get legislative text to a gun safety bill, I will move to hold a vote on the Senate floor as soon as possible.

I hope that in the very near future Democrats and Republicans can take the real momentum of the past few weeks and translate it into something that’s escaped this chamber for decades: voting on—and passing—long-sought gun safety reform.

This is a rare opportunity for the Senate, so in order to reach our goal we have to keep working with the same urgency and good faith that has carried us this far.

For sure, the bipartisan framework is far from perfect, but if passed it will unquestionably save lives and would be the most significant action on guns that the Senate has taken in nearly three decades.

If passed, it would enhance background checks for those under 21. It will help states with their red flag laws, preventing shootings before they happen. It will make it harder for domestic abusers to acquire a weapon by closing the boyfriend loophole.

Significantly, this framework also calls for new punishment for gun traffickers.

We all know one of the biggest weaknesses in our country’s gun laws as they are today is that anyone can buy a gun in one state and then simply smuggle it into another. We could begin to fight against that that with stiffer penalties on gun trafficking.

Of course, this framework will help lower crime and reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods by increasing funding for mental health as well. And even on its own, the funding for mental health—with great increases in mental health problems that we see after COVID—is very much needed.

Taken together, the policies outlined by the bipartisan framework would be an important first step to saving lives. It would lay the foundation for a more sensible approach to gun safety in the future. It’s certainly not everything Democrats want, but if we can save even one life, one life, our efforts will have been worth it.

I hope that very soon, the Senate can break the cycle of violence, grieving, and gridlock that has held firm for far too long. This is the best chance we’ve had in years to finally tell the American people that, yes, after the horrifying tragedies of Uvalde and Buffalo, this time, this time will be different.

We have more work to do, so I urge my colleagues not to let this precious opportunity slip away.