Rand Paul vows to introduce amendments to gun safety bill
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday condemned parts of the recently announced bipartisan gun safety deal, describing some provisions as “constitutional deficiencies” and vowing to introduce amendments as it comes to the Senate floor.
“Unfortunately, this legislation was assembled as many are — in secret, absent well placed leaks to journalists,” Paul wrote on Twitter. “There doesn’t appear to be a willingness or time provided to read, understand, debate or amend this bill.”
“I will try anyway,” he continued. “To this end, I will introduce amendments to correct the constitutional deficiencies of this bill and hope my colleagues and the Senate leadership will do the same.”
Senate negotiators on Tuesday released the text of a long-awaited deal on gun safety that would take firearms away from dangerous people and provide billions of dollars in new mental health funding, among other measures.
The Senate quickly voted 64-34 on Tuesday evening to advance the legislation, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 13 other GOP senators supporting the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he expects the bill to pass the Senate by the end of the week.
Schumer’s timeline aims to get ahead of the Senate’s upcoming two-week recess. But a quick passage of the legislation requires an agreement from all 100 senators, so Paul could delay the final vote if he doesn’t give way.
Paul said he supports some of the bill’s provisions, like a section that includes juvenile records in background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21.
“Looking at the recent criminal past of anyone is a good idea before assessing gun ownership,” Paul said. “However, that idea was paired with many questionable or bad ones in this legislation.”
He specifically raised concerns over a proposed $750 million in funding for states to implement crisis intervention orders, including red flag laws that allow a court to confiscate a firearm from someone deemed to be a significant danger to themselves or others.
Paul raised due process concerns over some states’ existing red flag laws, explicitly referencing those implemented in New York, Washington state and Washington, D.C.
He also criticized a prohibition on using the funds to train or equip school personnel with firearms.
“In fact, we should be doing the opposite, encouraging schools to train and arm proper personnel as desired and needed in their schools,” Paul said.
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