NEW ORLEANS — Calls for common sense gun laws have grown louder since recent deadly mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.
Sunday, a group of United States Senators, 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, including Sen. Bill Cassidy announced a breakthrough agreement on gun violence for the first time in 30 years.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the agreement “promising.”
“I think it’s a good package,” Edwards said. “I wish it included more with respect to background checks but getting this Congress to do anything these days is incredibly hard, especially on something that is historically been so difficult as gun safety.”
If approved, Congress would provide major funding to help states pass and implement crisis intervention orders also known as “red flag” laws.
It would allow law enforcement to temporarily take weapons away from people who pose a danger to others or themselves.
"I do believe we need to do more in our state around red flag laws," Edwards said. "There are some around the country in existence today. One of the ones we’ve been asked to look at in particular in modeling our efforts after would be Florida."
In recent years, Louisiana lawmakers have rejected such laws.
Sen. Pat Connick, R-Marrero, says federal incentives could make a difference.
“I think anytime you have some federal help to solve a problem, we need to take it, look at it and make a change for Louisiana for the better, for the nation,” Connick said.
The agreement would also boost mental health resources, provide funding for school safety, crack down on criminals who legally purchase a weapon for someone who would not qualify for ownership and expand background checks for gun buyers under 21.
Rep. Rodney Lyons, D-Harvey, called the proposal long overdue.
“Whatever they can provide to us in the sense of mental illness, we really need to look at those parts,” Lyons said. “That would be important. Not seeing the whole package, yeah, we’re interested because we have to find a solution somewhere.”
The last major firearms restrictions passed by Congress was the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban which lawmakers let expire 10 years later.
“We need to do something and it’s great to hear both sides coming together to try and get some kind of coalition together to make a positive impact,” Connick said. It’s a long time coming, and this is a good first step.
Sen. Cassidy released a statement about the agreement.
“I joined these negotiations to ensure any agreement addressed illegal gun violence while upholding due process and protecting law-abiding Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This agreement upholds that commitment."
In a statement, the National Rifle Association said, “As is our policy, the NRA does not take positions on ‘frameworks.’ We will make our position known when the full text of the bill is available for review. The NRA will continue to oppose any effort to insert gun control policies, initiatives that override constitutional due process protections and efforts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their fundamental right to protect themselves and their loved ones into this or any other legislation.”