Senate passes first major federal gun safety legislation in decades


The bill passed with some Republicans joining Democrats in support of the measure, marking an important bipartisan advance on one of the country’s most contentious policy issues. The bill would then go to the House of Representatives for a vote before being sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

The bipartisan arms deal includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the national system for immediate criminal background checks.

The package amounts to the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the 10-year assault weapons ban expired in 1994 — though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.

There were a few dozen people in the Senate floor before the final vote. Senators noted that survivors of gun violence, family members and groups were present to witness the historic vote in the chamber.

The vote on the federal gun safety bill came on the same day as the Supreme Court subtracted New York’s gun law was enacted more than a century ago that places restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun outside the home.

The ruling highlights the conflicting political forces surrounding the matter at all levels of government, as the judicial branch implements the broadest expansion of gun rights in a decade, and rightly so as the legislative branch appears on course to pass the most important gun safety package in nearly 30 years.

Decisive vote demands Republican support

The firearms safety bill was one step closer to its passage in the Senate earlier today after a crucial vote pushed the measure with Republican support.

The vote was 65-34, with 15 Republican Senators Join Democrats to break the deactivation.

GOP “yes” votes include all 10 Senate Republicans who signed an initial gun safety framework agreement: John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Telles of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana , Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah and Pat Tommy of Pennsylvania. Four of the 10 original Republican supporters will retire this year: Blunt, Burr, Portman and Tommy.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Joni Ernest of Iowa and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who are in the GOP leadership, also voted to break the stall on the bill.

Other noteworthy GOP votes include Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana, who were not part of the 10 Republicans who initially signed on to support the framework and are due to be reelected in November.

Here's what's on the bipartisan gun safety bill

The House of Representatives will then have to take up the bill. It is not yet clear how quickly the legislation can move through both chambers, but the bill could be considered by the House of Representatives on Friday.

The legislation came on the heels of recent tragic mass shootings at an elementary school in Ovaldi, Texas and at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, which was located in a predominantly black neighborhood.

A bipartisan group of negotiators is set to work in the Senate and unveiled a legislative text on Tuesday. Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Telles of North Carolina, Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kirsten Sinema of Arizona passed the bill — titled the bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Lawmakers are now racing to pass the bill before they leave Washington for the Fourth of July recess.

The fact that the text of the bill has been finalized, and the legislation now appears to be about to pass the Senate, is a huge victory for negotiators who came together to hammer out an agreement.

It seemed that the efforts of the two parties were on thin ice after that Several major sticking points have emerged, but in the end the negotiators were able to solve the problems that arose. The agreement represents a rare example of compromise across party lines on one of Washington’s most contentious issues – an achievement in today’s highly polarized political environment.

Reaching a bipartisan agreement on key gun legislation has been very difficult for lawmakers in recent years even in the face of countless mass shootings across the country.

“For far too long in Washington political games on both sides of the aisle, I have stalled progress toward protecting our communities and keeping families safe and secure,” Cinema said Wednesday in a speech in the Senate.

“Blame-and-criticism and political attacks have become the path of least resistance, but communities across our country that have suffered senseless violence deserve better than Washington’s policy as usual,” the Arizona Democrat said. “Our communities deserve a commitment by their leaders to do the serious work of putting politics aside, identifying the problems that need solving, and working together to achieve common ground and common goals.”

The main provisions of the bill

The bill includes $750 million to help countries implement and manage crisis intervention programmes. Funds can be used for implementation and management red flag programs — which can temporarily deny individuals in crises access to firearms through a court order — and for other crisis intervention programs such as mental health courts, drug courts, and veterans’ courts.

This bill closes an old loophole in domestic violence law – the “friend loop” – that bars individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence offenses against married partners, or partners who share children or partners with whom they live. Owning guns. Old laws did not include intimate partners who might not live together, marry, or share children. Now, the law will prohibit anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime from owning a weapon against someone who has an “ongoing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”

The law is not retroactive. However, those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors will be allowed to regain their rights to bear arms after five years if they have not committed other crimes.

The bill encourages states to include juvenile records in the national system for immediate criminal background checks with grants, and also implements a new protocol for checking those records.

The bill pursues individuals who sell guns as primary sources of income but previously evaded registration as federally licensed firearms dealers. It also increases funding for mental health and school security programs.

The Republican Party is divided over the bill

A split emerged among some prominent members of the Republican leadership in the House and Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell He said he supports the bipartisan arms deal. But top Republican House leaders Line up against the bill And they’re urging their members to vote “no,” even as the Senate moves toward passage of the law this week.

But even with GOP leaders opposing the bill, there are already some House Republicans who have indicated they plan to vote for it, and the Democratic-controlled House is expected to be able to pass the legislation once it passes in the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to “quickly put it on the ground” in the House once it passes in the Senate, “so we can send it to President Biden’s desk.”

“While more is needed, this package must quickly become law to help protect our children,” Pelosi He said in a statement.

This story and title were updated with additional developments on Thursday.

CNN’s Daniela Diaz and Tierney Snead contributed.

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