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US Senate passes gun control bill after overcoming GOP delays; House to take up measure Friday

WASHINGTON – The Senate on Thursday easily passed a bipartisan bill on armed violence that seemed unthinkable just a month ago, paving the way for final congressional approval for a broader response by lawmakers to decades of mass shootings. of the nation.

After years of delays in GOP proceedings that derailed Democrats’ efforts to curb firearms, Democrats and some Republicans have said congressional inaction has been unbearable in the wake of last month’s violence in New York and Texas. It took weeks of closed-door talks, but a group of senators from both parties came up with a compromise that incorporates a gradual but influential movement to curb bloodshed that regularly shocks – but no longer surprises – the nation.

The $ 13 billion measure will strengthen background checks on newer gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders, and help states enact red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take firearms from individuals. are considered dangerous. It will also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

The election year package has come a long way from the strongest gun restrictions Democrats have pursued in years, including bans on assault rifles and large-caliber ammunition cartridges used in the Buffalo, New York and Ovalde killings. . However, the agreement allowed the leaders of both parties to declare victory and show voters that they know how to compromise and make the government work, while also leaving room on each side to appeal to its key supporters.

“This is not a cure for all the ways in which gun violence affects our nation,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Sumer, DN.Y., whose party has targeted gun restrictions here. and decades. “But it is a very belated step in the right direction. The passage of this arms security bill is really important and will save lives.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., In a nod to the second amendment right to bear arms leading many conservative voters, said “the American people want their constitutional rights and their children protected. be safe at school “. He said that “they want both of these things at the same time, and this is exactly what the bill will have achieved before the Senate.”

The day turned out to be bittersweet for supporters of curbing armed violence. Underscoring the enduring power of the conservative cIout, the right-wing Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a right to bear arms in public. Judges overturned a New York law that required people to demonstrate the need to carry a gun before being allowed to do so.

The vote for the final passage was 65-33.

Hours earlier, senators voted 65-34 in favor of ending the GOP Conservative Senate clash. That was five more than the 60-vote limit needed. The House planned to vote on the measure on Friday and approval seemed certain.

In that vote, 15 Senate Republicans united with 50 Democrats, including their two independent allies, to vote in favor of the bill.

However, this vote highlighted the dangers facing Republicans by defying party voters who support guns and firearms groups, such as the National Rifle Association. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana were the only two of the 15 to be re-elected this fall. Of the rest, four are retiring and eight will not face voters until 2026.

Undoubtedly, Republican senators who voted “no” included potential contenders for the 2024 presidency, including Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Howley of Missouri, and Tim Sous. Carolina. Some of the party’s most conservative members also voted “no,” including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Utah-based Mike Lee.

While the Senate measure was a clear milestone, the prospects for a continued congressional arms move are bleak.

Less than a third of the 50 senators in the Senate GOP supported the measure, and the strong Republican opposition is certain in Parliament. House Republicans urged him to vote “no” in an email from GOP No. 2 Louisiana MP Steve Scalise, who described the bill as “an attempt to gradually eliminate the rights of law-abiding citizens in Amendment 2”. .

Both bodies – now closely controlled by Democrats – could well be run by the GOP after the November midterm elections.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said Ovalde residents told him when he visited that Washington needed to act. “Our children in our schools and communities will be safer because of this legislation. I call on Congress to complete the work and bring this bill to my office,” Biden said.

The Senate action came a month after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde. A few days before that, a white man was accused of being motivated by racism as he killed 10 black grocery shoppers in Buffalo. Both perpetrators were 18 years old, a youthful profile shared by many perpetrators of the mass shootings, and the imminent time of the two massacres and the victims with whom many could be identified prompted voters’ call for action, lawmakers from both parties said.

The talks were led by Senators Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., John Cornyn, R-Texas and Thom Tillis, RN.C. Murphy was representing Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 students and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, while Cornyn had been involved in previous gun conversations following mass shootings in his state and is close to McConnell.

Murphy said the measure would save thousands of lives and was an opportunity to “prove to a tired American public that democracy is not so disintegrated that it cannot rise at the moment.”

“I do not think I can do anything about what we saw in Uvalde,” Cornyn said.

The bill will make available local records of minors aged 18 to 20 during the required federal history checks when attempting to purchase firearms. These exams, which are currently limited to three days, will take up to 10 days to give federal and local officials time to search for records.

People who have been convicted of domestic abuse who are current or former romantic companions of the victim would be barred from acquiring firearms by closing the so-called “friend’s window”.

This ban currently only applies to people who are married, living or have children with the victim. The compromise bill will extend this to those who are considered to have had “an ongoing serious relationship”.

There would be money to help states enforce red flag laws and for other states without them, for violence prevention programs. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.

The measure extends the use of background checks by rewriting the definition of federally licensed arms dealers required to conduct them. Penalties for arms trafficking are being increased, billions of dollars are being provided for behavioral health clinics and school mental health programs, and there is money for school safety initiatives, though not for staff to use a “dangerous weapon.”

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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US Senate passes gun control bill after overcoming GOP delays; House to take up measure Friday Source link US Senate passes gun control bill after overcoming GOP delays; House to take up measure Friday

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