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Senate talks on arms security reform have stalled due to unique challenges

Senate talks on arms security reform have stalled due to unique challenges

Leading bilateral security negotiators held closed doors for several hours on Wednesday night in an effort to resolve the remaining differences in packages, but the group’s efforts to facilitate the passage of the agreement came to a halt, at least for now.

A bilateral group of senators has been working since a group of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans announced on Sunday a framework for proposals to reduce gun violence after the shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York. Quickly turn the list of ideas into a bill ready for consideration in the first chamber next week. But two provisions, one aimed at encouraging states to set up violence prevention programs, and one to close the so-called “friendly gap”, are now preventing negotiations, the main negotiations. Republican John Cornyn of R-Texas said it on Wednesday.

“If we can solve these two problems, I think we’re on our way, but now I’m afraid it will take time and we have to finish our work tomorrow, we have to solve these problems,” Cornyn said. reporter on Wednesday morning.

When the negotiators left the meeting on Wednesday evening, they made some progress, but said discussions on the two main issues should continue until Thursday. “We’re making progress,” Cornyn said. “But we’re not there yet.”

“We continue to make progress,” Sen. Chris Murphy, the Democrat’s chief negotiator, said this after Cornyn left. “It’s a tight timeline to get to some serious problems.”

The senators felt the onslaught for hours as they struggled to reach an ambitious deadline for meeting their announced legal framework. If senators want to vote on their package before the Senate leaves the two-week break on June 27, they will have to account for their framework agreement, which other senators can see and vote on. Calls for a program to support or encourage state violence prevention programs – including red flag laws designed to temporarily seize the weapons of those whom the court or others find dangerous, have since been shaken by the Republican Conference. announced the proposed framework.

According to Cornyn, negotiators are debating whether the resources available to states to support red flag programs should also be available to states with other types of violence prevention programs, such as veterans’ courts, mental health courts and assisted outpatient treatment programs.

Some Republicans have long struggled with Red Flag programs for fear that these provisions violate the rights to a fair trial of suspects as a threat. During Tuesday’s meeting of the Republican Conference behind closed doors, several Republican lawmakers outside the negotiating team told ABC News that they were concerned about provisions that support red flag laws.

According to several participants, Cornyn reassured his colleagues on several occasions that there was no federal law enforcement mandate. He also reiterated an earlier speech in which he said that their future legislation would ensure that any state that received federal funding must ensure a proper process of rights for anyone who may fall under the Red Flag, also called “excessive risk, called a” protection order. ”

“Most of the discussions are about the red flag issue, and that’s my biggest concern because we’re going to do it right,” Sen said. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, on Tuesday. “I think we’re more interested in the red wave than the red flags, really, as Republicans, and we have a good chance of doing so,” as a reference to the possibility that Republicans will dominate Congress this fall. .

However, Democrats are hoping for a red flag problem. Si Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT.

“We need to support all possible ways to intervene in a crisis before committing violence. And red flag laws require investing hundreds of millions of dollars for them as an incentive, but also to sustain it. At the same time, we can have various other ways of crisis intervention that can help save lives, “Blumenthal said.

There are also problems with efforts to change the law in order to break the “guy’s loop”. Under current law, unmarried partners who have committed domestic violence are not prohibited from acquiring a firearm, not even married couples who have committed domestic violence.

Negotiators struggle with how to define a “friend” or partner in this language to include singles. Democrats on Wednesday sought to allay Cornyn’s concerns about two unique issues.

Democratic negotiator Sen. Chris Coons, D-DE, gets a problem with a friend’s slot and the Red Flag Act by making “average negotiation challenges” because problems often occur when the plot returns to the account text.

“All we had to do was write a text that matched the frame,” Murphy said. “You know, we all promise to support that framework, and then we put it into law. I am sure we can write an outline of the text and we can do it next week for our colleagues.

As negotiators continue to work on the legislative text, a growing number of Republicans are signaling their willingness to support the framework.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he was “comfortable” with a framework for bilateral arms security reform and would “support” the bill “if the legislation ends up reflecting what the framework outlines.”

“My view of the framework that leads to the legislation I want to support, I think it’s a breakthrough for the country and I think the bipartisan group is doing the best it can. Get general support and development facilities for it.” The group is, in my opinion, a step in the right direction, “McConnell said.

And other members of his conference expressed their willingness to support the proposal.

“I just have to see the text … I want to see the details. I think the box is good, but that’s the details,” Sen said. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, on Tuesday.

Sending SMS to members for the weekend is crucial, Cornyn said. And he still hopes he can.

“We have to hook a pretty strong ribbon around everything,” Cornyn told reporters. “Because we have to stop writing the text so we can share it with colleagues and give it to most leaders to put it on the floor.”