Image Source: NY Times
The first step toward passing what is being hailed as the most important new gun control bill in a generation has been taken by the US Senate. Due to the senators’ decision to speed up its ratification, the bipartisan bill may become law the next week.
The recommendations, while significant, fall well short of the expectations put out by many Democrats and activists in the wake of a spate of horrible murders.
The processes involve more thorough background checks for buyers who are under 21. The legislation asks for money to assist state “red flag” laws, which are used to take firearms away from people who are regarded to be threats. The act also includes federal funding for school security upgrades totaling $15 billion (£12.2 billion).
And by forbidding the sale of firearms to those convicted of assaulting unmarried intimate partners, it closes the purported “boyfriend loophole.” Senators have shown this much support for proposed gun safety regulations from both the Republican and Democratic parties for the first time in years.
Less than two hours after the final copy was distributed, the procedural Senate vote was approved by a vote of 64 to 34.
The legislation may have enough support to pass the Senate without changes based on the 14 Republicans who voted to move it. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives must also approve it before it can be delivered to President Joe Biden.
The bill “will become the most significant piece of anti-gun violence legislation Congress will have approved in 30 years,” according to Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democrat in the discussions, who predicted on the Senate floor.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said: “This gun safety legislation is bipartisan, and it will save lives. This law is sorely required even though it doesn’t exactly suit our needs.”
In a statement in which he vowed his support, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell referred to the measure as “a common-sense package.”
The bill was condemned by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which asserted in a statement that it “does little to truly reduce violent crime” and “may be exploited to restrict lawful gun purchases.”
President Biden said earlier this month that while the suggestions were “steps in the right direction,” they weren’t enough.
The last significant federal gun control regulation was approved in 1994 but was overturned ten years later. It prohibited the manufacture of assault rifles and high-capacity ammo clips for civilian use.
The US has the highest rate of firearm-related fatalities among the world’s richest countries. But it’s also a country where many people appreciate their capacity to “keep and carry arms” under the Second Amendment and their freedom to do so.
Republicans have already thwarted Democratic attempts to tighten US gun control laws.
Nearly ten years ago, efforts to change US gun control legislation following the Connecticut Sandy Hook school tragedy that resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six adults failed to gain enough support in Congress.
The Senate, or upper chamber of Congress, is now divided, with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and legislation must pass with 60 votes to avoid filibustering.
The structure for the new legislation was created by 20 senators, ten of whom are Republicans, so it has the backing it needs to move forward.