The lead Senate Democrat negotiating a gun control bill with Republicans following a spate of deadly mass shootings across America said Tuesday that a deal had been reached on the legislation — setting up a potential vote before lawmakers break for the July 4 holiday.
“We have an agreement and the text will be coming out very shortly,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told reporters.
The bipartisan negotiating group unveiled a framework of a bill on June 12 and had been engaged in frantic negotiations to hammer out the final text amid public outrage over the massacres at a Texas elementary school on May 24 and a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 that killed a total of 31 people.
Earlier Tuesday, Murphy’s Republican counterpart, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, told Reuters that negotiators were “on a glide path” to an agreement and added: “Hopefully it will land shortly.”
The talks had recently stalled as senators debated including so-called “Hyde Amendment” to bar any federal funds in the proposal from being used to pay for abortions.
Cornyn said he believed that impasse had been resolved, saying: “Hyde applies.”
Other sticking points in the measure included the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” which concerns whether dating partners guilty of domestic violence can own firearms, and incentives for states to enact so-called “red flag” laws.
The Washington Post reported that the measure would bar current and “recent former” dating partners from owning a gun if convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, but would restore the right to own a firearm after five years if no other violent or misdemeanor convictions recorded.
The measure falls short of what President Biden wanted — which included an assault weapons ban and raising the legal age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21.
Senate Democratic leaders were hoping to bring the legislation up for a vote this week, with the House taking it up later this week.
The measure would need support from at least 10 Republican senators to clear the upper chamber, which is divided 50-50.