None of GOP senators who signed framework gun violence bill seeking 2022 reelection, four retiring

The agreement was announced in a statement by 10 Senate Republicans and 10 Senate Democrats

Published: June 13, 2022 12:57pm

Updated: June 13, 2022 5:49pm

None of the 10 Republican senators who on Sunday backed a framework agreement on gun violence legislation is up for reelection this year.

The bipartisan proposal will, if passed, address such issues as mental health and school security. However, it doesn't include efforts to tighten federal gun-control laws.

The agreement was announced in a statement by 10 Senate Republicans and 10 Senate Democrats.

Such legislation cannot pass in the Senate without first clearing a 60-vote procedural hurdle, which means Democrats would need the support of 10 Republicans in the evenly-split 50-50 chamber.

"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 statement reads. "Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”

If the legislation is passed as is, it would allowing authorities to check the mental health and juvenile records of those under the age of 21 seeking to buy a gun. Additionally, it would extend the checks to partners with a history of domestic violence, closing the so-called "boyfriend loophole" in existing law. 

The 10 Republicans who signed the letter are Sens. Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney, Thom Tillis and Pat Toomey. Many of them have a long history of supporting the National Rifle Association, with Cornyn, the GOP's lead negotiator on the measure, being given an A-plus rating by the organization. 

Romney and Burr, respectively, have also received funding by the NRA at $13.5 million and $7 million in donations.

Blunt, Burr, Portman and Toomey are all retiring from the Senate at the end of the year. 

With Republicans traditionally opposed to limiting Second Amendment rights, the 10 signing the framework measure appears to avoid, or at least minimize, election-year backlash that could immediately cost the GOP a Senate seat, while also showing the electorate the party understands Americans' overall desire to curb gun violence, particularly mass shootings. 

The negotiations follow the recent mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school in which 19 children and two teachers were killed. The May 24 incident came 10 days after 10 people were fatally shot in a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store. The shooter in each was 18 years old. 

President Biden thanked Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who is leading negotiations for the Democrats, and Republicans including Cornyn and Tillis for their work on the proposal but said the framework bill doesn't go far enough.

"Obviously, it does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades," he said. "Each day that passes, more children are killed in this country: the sooner it comes to my desk, the sooner I can sign it."

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