Senate Passes Gun Safety Bill, Breaking Decades-Long Partisan Gridlock

The Senate cleared a decades-long partisan impasse over how to address gun violence on Thursday night, passing a modest set of gun safety measures that would enhance background checks for younger buyers and fund new mental health programs.

The bill passed by a vote of 65 to 33, garnering support from the entire Democratic caucus and 15 Republicans, on the same day the Supreme Court expanded the scope of gun rights in a landmark ruling.

“This is the sweet spot … making America safer, especially for kids in school, without making our country one bit less free,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, said Thursday. “This is a common-sense package. Its provisions are very, very popular. It contains zero, zero new restrictions, zero new waiting periods, zero mandates and zero bans of any kind for law-abiding gun owners.”
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Along with McConnell, the other 14 Republicans that voted for the bill were Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania. and Todd Young of Indiana.

It was all but inevitable the bill would pass after 10 Republican Senators vowed to back the original framework last week. But that didn’t stop others from attempting to delay the vote. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky proposed nine amendments to the bill on Thursday, arguing that the framework would not do enough to protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and John Barrasso of Wyoming urged the chamber to instead take up their legislation, which would increase funding for school-based security officers and leave the current gun laws intact. After hours of feverish debate, they lost their motion 39 to 58.

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The bill now heads to the House, which is expected to pass it on Friday. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, signaled last week that the House would enact whatever bill the Senate could pass.

“This is not a cure all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation,” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, said Thursday. “But it is a long overdue step in the right direction … I hope it paves the way for future action on guns in Congress.”

The bipartisan legislation came together over several weeks of intensive negotiations largely between Cornyn, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, as both parties sought to achieve the sort of deal that had eluded them for years. If it becomes law, it would mark the most significant action Congress has taken on gun control in nearly 30 years.

The Senate vote comes nearly a month after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Tex., the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. That massacre occurred just …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

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