A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday released new legislation to address mass shootings, setting the stage for the U.S. Senate to vote on passage of the bill later this week with support from the chamber's top Republican.
Lawmakers said they were likely to take their first procedural vote on the package on Tuesday evening, after bridging differences on issues involving abortion, red flag laws and domestic violence.
"I believe that this week, we will pass legislation that will become the most significant piece of anti-gun-violence legislation Congress will have passed in 30 years. This is a breakthrough. And more importantly, it is a bipartisan breakthrough," Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democrat in the talks, said on the Senate floor.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to move forward as soon as possible, with an expected motion to proceed on a bill from the House of Representatives that would serve as the Senate's legislative vehicle.
"This bipartisan gun-safety legislation is progress and will save lives. While it is not everything we want, this legislation is urgently needed," Schumer said in a statement.
For its part, the National Rifle Association was quick to issue a statement opposing the Senate gun legislation via Twitter.
It expressed concern the bill could "be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases" and "infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens."
"The NRA will support legislation that improves school security, promotes mental health services, and helps reduce violent crime. However, we will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level. It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners."
Schumer's Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, described the legislation as "a commonsense package" in a statement pledging his own support.
With the 100-seat Senate split evenly, the legislation will need support from at least 10 Republicans to pass.
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