Demonstrators hold placards while participating in the 'March for Our Lives', one of a series of nationwide protests against gun violence, in Washington, DC, U.S., June 11, 2022.
Demonstrators hold placards while participating in the 'March for Our Lives', one of a series of nationwide protests against gun violence, in Washington, DC, U.S., June 11, 2022. Reuters / KEN CEDENO

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Tuesday was on the verge of releasing legislation to address mass shootings, after bridging differences on issues involving abortion, red flag laws and domestic violence.

The lead Republican and Democratic negotiators said they expected the text of the prospective bill to be released imminently, with an initial procedural vote likely to take place later in the evening.

"We've reached agreement and we're dotting the I's and crossing the T's right now. I think we're in good shape," Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democrat in the talks, told reporters.

"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," Murphy said later on the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to move forward on the legislation as soon as it became available, with an expected motion to proceed on a bill from the House of Representatives that would serve as the Senate's legislative vehicle.

Senator John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator in bipartisan gun legislation talks, noted that the Senate agreement had been reached by only four lawmakers but held out hope that the legislation would draw enough support from others to ensure passage in the 100-seat chamber.

"We know there's no such thing as a perfect piece of legislation. We are imperfect human beings. But we have to try, and I believe this bill is a step in the right direction," Cornyn said on the Senate floor.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Texas Republican told Reuters that lawmakers had agreed to include "Hyde Amendment" language to prevent the proposal from being used to pay for abortions.

Introducing the bill on Tuesday would improve the odds of Senate passage before lawmakers leave for their two-week July 4 break. Some aides suggested lawmakers could stay into the weekend to vote on the bill.

The bipartisan group has been working on a deal to curb gun violence since a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, less than two weeks after 10 died in a racist shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Talks have bogged down in recent days.

The group announced a framework deal more than a week ago. But talks had bogged down over a few issues.

The measure does not go as far as Democrats including President Joe Biden had sought, If passed, it would still be the most significant action to combat gun violence to emerge from Congress in years.

Lawmakers reached agreement on a provision to encourage states to adopt "red flag" laws, in which guns can be temporarily taken away from people who are deemed dangerous. The legislation was expected to meet Republican demands that funding also be available for states that use other forms of intervention to accomplish the same outcome.

The negotiators had also been divided over a "boyfriend loophole:" authorities can block abusive spouses from buying firearms but not "intimate partners" who are not married. But it was not immediately clear what the agreement involved.

Cornyn had walked out of the talks on Thursday, demanding that the red flag provision also allow funding for states that opt for other intervention methods instead.

The next day, at his state's Republican convention, he was booed as he discussed the bill in a speech.