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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Release Of The Bipartisan Gun Safety Legislation Framework

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the bipartisan gun safety framework, an agreement that has created a path forward for legislation to help save lives, reduce gun violence, and keep our communities safe. Leader Schumer said once the text of this agreement is finalized he will put this bill on the floor quickly. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Yesterday, Democratic and Republican negotiators announced an agreement on a framework for bipartisan gun safety legislation, bringing the Senate one step closer to finally—finally—responding to the plague of gun violence that afflicts our nation and terrorizes our children.  

For the first time in a long time, the Senate has a path forward on legislation that will save lives, reduce gun violence, and keep our communities safe. Make no mistake about it, we have a lot of work left to do before we actually pass a bill, but yesterday’s announcement was a positive and necessary step in the right direction.

Now comes the important work of turning this framework into legislation and legislative language that can pass Congress and be signed by the President. We must continue working with the urgency that this moment demands, because if we can save even one life from gun violence, it will be worth it.

Once the text of this agreement is finalized, and I hope it will be as soon as possible, I will put this bill on the floor quickly, so the Senate can move quickly to make gun safety reform a reality. As I said, I will put this bill on the floor as soon as possible, once the text of the final agreement is finalized so the Senate can act quickly to make gun safety reform a reality.

So I urge my colleagues to continue working with the same good faith and urgency that has brought us to this point.

Certainly, yesterday’s agreement does not have everything Democrats wanted, but it nevertheless represents the most significant reform to gun safety laws that we have seen in decades.

If enacted, this legislation will make it harder for mass shooters to access assault rifles by enhancing background checks for those under 21.

It will prevent tragedies before they happen by helping states with their red flag laws.

It will prevent gun violence at home by closing the so-called boyfriend loophole, and establish new penalties for gun traffickers.

And it will make our neighborhoods safer by investing in mental health and Community Violence Intervention programs. The lion’s share of gun violence happens outside the national spotlight, and these intervention programs are some of the most effective ways to reduce crime and make our communities safer.

Altogether, this framework is a good and necessary first step towards changing the reality of gun violence in America. It will lay the foundation for future action.

Most importantly, this legislation will go a long ways to saving lives.

I want to thank Senators Murphy and Sinema, Cornyn and Tillis for working assiduously on this framework. Senator Murphy asked me for space to let the negotiators do their work, and I was glad to give it to them because we knew that any chance of getting something real done on gun safety was worth the effort.

I also want to thank all my colleagues who were part of the bipartisan guns working group, including Senators Blumenthal, Manchin, Coons, Heinrich and others. I want to thank all the advocates, families, volunteers who lost loved ones, shared their stories, who marched to make the change. Without the advocates, the families, the volunteers who lost loved ones, this bill wouldn’t have happened because year after year after shooting after shooting they didn't give up, they persisted and have helped bring us to this important moment.

For decades, families across the country have seen the same dismal pattern play out whenever a mass shooting strikes the nation: tragedy followed by inaction.

From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook to Las Vegas to Parkland to Buffalo to Uvalde—and to so many others—gridlock has prevented Congress from bringing solace to families in grief.

But no matter how many shootings have traumatized this nation, these families have never given up in their hope of making change happen.

Rather than curse the darkness, these families have responded to tragedy by lighting candles: they have shared their stories, they have marched for change, and they have done everything in their power to make sure no other parent, spouse, or sibling has to suffer the pain they have felt and live with every day. 

The same goes for all the advocates and so many groups who have worked on gun safety. Many members of these groups are survivors of gun violence. I have a person on my staff who is a survivor of Aurora. And they have all worked tirelessly for years to enact commonsense gun safety laws.

Despite decades of frustrating gridlock, I hope that yesterday’s announcement brings some sense of accomplishment to these grieving families and to all of those who have marched and protested and written letters and tweeted, because it is thanks to them we are at the threshold of progress.

Nearly thirty years ago, I was the author of the Brady background checks bill, and that was the last time Congress took meaningful action to address gun violence.

It was a different era back then, but the lesson of that experience remains relevant today: the right law can decrease gun deaths. I believe that there are tens of thousands of people alive today because the Brady Law was passed in 1994. They don't know who they are. We don't know who they are. But it's virtually certain that that law saved thousands and thousands of lives.

I urge my colleagues to think of all the lives we can save now by turning this framework into law. Americans have waited long enough for us to take action. Too many lives have been already lost. Too many families have been left grieving. While we can’t undo the tragedies of the past, we can act now to make them less likely in the future.

This framework, if enacted into law, will do precisely that, and I urge all of us to continue working to pass gun safety legislation soon.