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Mitt Romney among 10 GOP senators backing gun safety proposal

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Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks to Kenworth Sales employees before a tour of the company in West Valley City

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks to Kenworth Sales employees before a tour of the company in West Valley City on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. During the tour, Romney talked about supply chain issues.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Sen. Mitt Romney is among a bipartisan group of senators who announced a framework Sunday for gun safety legislation.

The deal includes resources for states to implement red flag laws, investment in mental health treatment and school security, and an added level of scrutiny for gun buyers under the age of 21.

“Families deserve to feel safe and secure in their communities. Proud to join my colleagues on this commonsense, bipartisan proposal that will save lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. It deserves broad support,” Romney said in a tweet.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement that the framework is a good first step toward ending inaction on the gun violence epidemic plaguing our country. He said he would put the bill on the floor as soon as possible.

The proposal comes in response to a spate of mass shootings, including in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.

“Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” the senators, including 10 Republicans, said in a statement.

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

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said he looks forward to reviewing the legislation.

“I will always stand on the side of the Second Amendment, law-abiding Americans, due process, and justice. Those who commit acts of rampage violence are criminals who must be stopped,” he tweeted.

President Joe Biden thanked Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the lead Democrat on the proposal, and the bipartisan group of 20 senators for their work.

“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,” the president said in a statement. “With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it should not quickly move through the Senate and the House.”

The House last week passed some of the toughest gun control measures Congress has approved in years, banning the sale of semiautomatic weapons to those under the age of 21 and banning the sale of large-capacity magazines. Utah’s four GOP congressmen voted against the legislation. It is unlikely to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to pass.

The Senate deal, which must still be written in legislation, has a better chance of becoming law because it has support from key Republicans. Ten Senators are needed to overcome any filibuster.

The Senate proposal includes:

  • Resources for states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others, consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections.
  • National expansion of community behavioral health center model; major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.
  • Convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders are included in NICS, including those who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
  • Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs and school based mental health and wrap-around services.
  • Invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.
  • Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.
  • Invests in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
  • For buyers under 21 years of age, requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.
  • Cracks down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.