Cornyn Discusses Framework for Negotiations on Mental Health, School Safety

On the Senate floor, I discussed the agreement recently announced outlining the focus of negotiations on any potential school safety and mental health legislation. Excerpts of my remarks are below, and video can be found here

As a result of the work we've been doing these last three weeks, working with our colleagues, I believe we are making good progress. Over the weekend, there was an agreement reached between 20 senators, ten Republicans and ten Democrats, on a framework or principles for bipartisan legislation to keep our kids and our communities safe.

From the beginning, I promised my constituents that when I took an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States, I did not take that oath with the intention of violating it. And so I said at the outset, I would not support any additional restrictions on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Access to mental health support is absolutely critical. So, too, is the investment in our schools. This includes everything from physically hardening school buildings to training personnel to more effective violence prevention efforts.

The final portion provides targeted reforms to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who already by law should not have guns to begin with.

Some of this assistance for crisis intervention orders will help administer existing red flag laws, but my hope is others will qualify for these resources for other important measures to help provide support for our communities to aid in crisis intervention, things like assisted outpatient treatment centers.

As I said, 16 states have red flag laws. Texas does not, and they certainly shouldn't miss out on access to those resources for crisis intervention… It's absolutely critical that each and every one of those includes protection that comes from due process of law, and, particularly, when it comes to the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Our framework also includes protections for victims of domestic violence. It shouldn't matter whether the victim is married to their abuser. If the abuser is convicted of domestic violence, they should not be able to purchase a firearm.

Proposals on universal background checks, assault weapon bans for 18- to 21-year-olds, mandatory waiting periods… all of these have been proposed by either President Biden or many of our Democratic colleagues and were not included in the statement of principles that was agreed to by ten Republicans and ten Democrats.

We knew including any of these components would jeopardize our ability to get a deal, and so any time our Democratic colleagues tried to push the envelope as far as they could, we had to remind them of that requirement and push back.


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