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Agreement on Guns? Egg on My Face?

Yesterday I laid out my moderate plan for “constitutional gun control.” I challenged Congress to act on this reasonable plan, but said the eight points in my plan "are unlikely to ever be voted into law.”

Shortly after I wrote my article, a group of senators announced a bipartisan agreement on guns. So, do I have egg on my face? Well . . . let’s take a look:

My plan included stricter licensing and training regulation, sales and weapon tracing technology, age limitations, an assault weapons ban, and a repeal of gun manufacturers immunity. None of these important elements were even considered, despite wide public support for all or most of what I proposed.

Before I get to the details of the agreement, keep in mind that this is a handshake. There is no legislative text. Areas of agreement are not even written on a napkin. However, apparently, there is bipartisan support (enough to avoid a filibuster) for the following:

  1. Funding for school safety resources (whatever that means).

  2. An enhanced review process for buyer under 21 years of age

  3. “Penalties” for straw purchasing

  4. A “red-flag” provision

  5. Increased funding for mental health services and support systems

  6. Expanded mental health, support services, and safety measures for schools.

President Biden weighed in and said:

“It does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction."

The president thanked senators from both sides of the aisle and the senators spent considerable time patting each other on the back. So, I am humbled, right? Do I have egg on my face? Was I wr . . . wro . . . wron . . . wrong?

Only one of my eight recommendations (mental health/red flag initiatives) made the cut. And listen to what Mitch McConnell said about the announced agreement:

"I continue to hope . . . discussions yield a bipartisan product that makes significant headway on key issues like mental health and school safety, respects the 2nd Amendment, earns broad support in the Senate, and makes a difference for our country."

Talk about red flags—McConnell’s “respects the 2nd Amendment” comment is a huge red flag that Republicans in the House and Senate are still on the wrong side of this issue, beholden to their principal source of campaign support, the NRA. And the NRA issued a statement saying that it takes no official position on “frameworks” and:

" . . .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"

On the other side of the political divide, Democrats and gun-control advocates thanked the bipartisan group of senators and praised the agreement, while acknowledging that it fell short of their expectations. March for our Lives spokesman, David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 Parkland Stoneman Douglas High School shooting said:

“even one life is saved or one attempted mass shooting is prevented because of these regulations, we believe that it is worth fighting for."

I agree with David, but here’s the straight scoop: While getting 10 or more Republicans to sign on to any form of gun control initiative is an achievement, I do not consider a handshake agreement to pass 1/8th of my moderate and constitutional plan to be significant or monumental.

I much prefer the comprehensive package passed, last week, in the House. Even that plan fell short, but it included many of the initiatives I proposed.

The NRA is not enthusiastic, and Republicans continue to bend the knee to lobbyists who oppose the will of most of our citizens and value gun rights over our health, safety, and well-being.

Egg on my face? Not even close. Stay tuned.

Mark M. Bello is an attorney and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series, ripped-from-the headlines, realistic fiction that speak truth to power and champion the rights of citizens in our justice system. These novels are

dedicated to the social justice movement. They educate, spark discussion and inspire readers to action. One of these novels, Betrayal High, was written in response to school shootings. For more information, please visit

Mark also hosts the Justice Counts podcast with Lean to the Left editor & publisher Bob Gatty, presenting bi-weekly interviews focused on social justice.

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