BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — A coalition of mayors formed to address gun violence on Tuesday announced their support for a bipartisan Senate agreement on gun safety, mental health and school safety provisions.
Senate bargainers on Sunday announced the framework of the response to last month’s mass shootings, which falls far short of tougher steps long sought by President Joe Biden and many Democrats. Even so, the accord was embraced by Biden and enactment would signal a significant turnabout after years of gun massacres that have yielded little but stalemate in Congress.READ MORE: Star Spangled Celebration: Fourth Of July Fireworks Light Up Baltimore's Skyline Once Again
The ten co-chairs of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, including Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, applauded the agreement and urged the Senate to “quickly take action” in a joint statement.
“Mayors are on the frontlines of our nation’s gun violence crisis, and for far too long, we’ve been urging our federal lawmakers to advance life-saving policies that will keep our communities safe,” the mayors said. “While this work is far from over, the framework released this week is an important step in the right direction.”
The compromise would make the juvenile records of gun buyers under age 21 available when they undergo background checks. The suspects who killed 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo and 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde were both 18, and many perpetrators of recent years’ mass shootings have been young.
The agreement would offer money to states to enact and put in place “red flag” laws that make it easier to temporarily take guns from people considered potentially violent, plus funds to bolster school safety and mental health programs.READ MORE: Bacteria Levels Prompt Recreational Water Advisory At Cox's Point Park
Some people who informally sell guns for profit would be required to obtain federal dealers’ licenses, which means they would have to conduct background checks of buyers. Convicted domestic abusers who do not live with a former partner, such as estranged ex-boyfriends, would be barred from buying firearms, and it would be a crime for a person to legally purchase a weapon for someone who would not qualify for ownership.
Congressional aides said billions of dollars would be spent expanding the number of community mental health centers and suicide prevention programs. But they said some spending decisions are unresolved, as are final wording on juvenile records and other gun provisions that might prove contentious.
Mayor Scott was announced as one of the 10 new co-chairs of Mayors Against Illegal Guns this year and will serve a two-year term.
The new co-chairs are the first since the coalition’s founding in 2006. The new co-chairs include Tampa, Florida Mayor Jane Castor; New York, New York Mayor Eric Adams; Chattanooga, Tennessee Mayor Tim Kelly and St. Louis, Missouri Mayor Tishaura Jones.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: Mother Of Abandoned Newborn Receives 18-Month Sentence