After years of GOP procedural delays that derailed Democratic gun control efforts, Democrats and some Republicans have decided congressional inaction is untenable after last month’s horrific rampages in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. It took nearly a month of closed-door talks, but a group of senators from both parties emerged with an 80-page compromise that embodied a gradual but impactful move.
The measure would strengthen background checks on younger gun buyers, keep guns out of more perpetrators of domestic violence, and help states implement “red flag” laws that allow authorities to more easily take weapons from people deemed to be dangerous. It would also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.
Thursday’s roll call ending the blockade by conservative GOP senators was 65 to 34, five more than the 60-vote threshold needed. Final passage of the $13 billion measure was expected by the end of the week with a House vote to follow, although the timing is uncertain.
The election-year package fell far short of tougher gun restrictions that Democrats have been seeking for years, including a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in Buffalo and Uvalde. Still, the deal allowed leaders of both parties to declare victory and demonstrate to voters that they know how to compromise and make government work, while giving each side room to appeal to their core supporters. .
‘This is not a panacea for all the ways gun violence affects our nation,’ said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., whose party has made gun restrictions a goal For years. “But it’s a long overdue step in the right direction. It’s important, it’s going to save lives.”
“The American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children safe in school,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a nod to the law. of the Second Amendment to bear arms that motivates many conservative voters. “They want both of those things, and that’s exactly what the bill before the Senate will have accomplished.”
Yet while the Senate measure was a clear breakthrough, the prospects for continued congressional movement on gun curbs are bleak. Only about a third of the Senate’s 50 GOP senators backed the measure and a strong Republican opposition in the House is certain, and both chambers – now tightly controlled by Democrats – may well be led by the GOP after the mid-election. – November mandate.
Underscoring the enduring strength of conservative power, Thursday’s vote came minutes after the right-wing Supreme Court issued a ruling expanding Americans’ right to bear arms in public. Their ruling struck down a New York law that required people to prove they needed to carry a gun before getting a license to do so.
The Senate action came a month after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde. Just 10 days earlier, a white man accused of being racially motivated killed 10 black grocery shoppers in Buffalo. Both shooters were 18 years old, a youthful profile shared by many mass shooters.
The talks were led by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, John Cornyn, R-Texas and Thom Tillis, RN.C. Murphy represented Newtown, Connecticut, when an attacker killed 20 students and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, while Cornyn was embroiled in gun talks following shootings by mass in his state and is close to McConnell.
The bill would make local juvenile records of people between the ages of 18 and 20 available during required federal background checks when attempting to purchase firearms. These reviews, currently limited to three days, would last up to a maximum of 10 days to give federal and local authorities time to search for records.
People convicted of domestic violence who are current or former romantic partners of the victim would be prohibited from acquiring firearms, thus closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole”.
This ban currently only applies to people who are married to, living with, or have had children with the victim. The compromise bill would extend this to those deemed to have had “a continuing serious relationship”.
There would be money to help states enforce “red flag” laws and for other states without them, that for violence prevention programs. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have “red flag” laws, and Cornyn—whose state has none—demanded that all states be included in the negotiations.
The measure expands the use of background checks by rewriting the definition of federally licensed arms dealers needed to perform them. Penalties for gun trafficking are increased, billions of dollars are being allocated to behavioral health clinics and mental health programs in schools and there is money for safe schools initiatives, but not for staff to use a “dangerous weapon”.
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