After the tragic mass shooting in Texas, NAACP President Derrick Johnson urged Congress to “Don’t just post a tweet, pass a bill.” As the Senate is on the brink of passing one of the first gun safety agreements in decades, the NAACP said that the impending agreement is a “step in the right direction,” The Hill reports. On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate reached a bipartisan compromise on gun violence reform which could be passed as soon as the end of this week.
“We are encouraged with the outcome of the bipartisan effort. This bill will save lives and we urge Congress to bring it to the President’s desk promptly,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement.
“When school children, churchgoers and grocery store shoppers are being gunned-down, the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good,” Johnson said. “This bill is a step in the right direction, and any step in the right direction is a step we must take.”
The Senate is due to head out for the July 4th recess soon — thus the urgency to pass the legislation. With the bipartisan bill already clearing the procedural hurdle with a 64-34 vote, it looks like it will be on President Biden’s desk to sign by Friday.
The 80-page bill includes the following measures:
- Increases funding for mental health programs and school security
- Provides $750 million to help states implement and run crisis intervention programs
- Closing the boyfriend loophole bars anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime against someone they have a “continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” from having a gun. However, if they haven’t committed other crimes, people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence can have their gun rights restored after five years.
- Makes it easier to go after individuals who sell guns as primary sources of income but have previously evaded registering as Federally Licensed Firearm Dealers
- Encourages states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check system with grants
Provisions that are not included are universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, or raising the minimum age for buying them. Any more substantive measures would not have gotten Republican support. Entitles like the NRA and the Texas Republican Party have already condemned Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) involvement in creating the framework, even though most of the Biden administration’s measures are not present in the bill. Johnson acknowledges this agreement is one step at the beginning of the long fight against gun violence.
“The fight to save innocent lives from gun violence will and must continue beyond this bill,” the organization’s president said.