Image Source: CBS News
The US Senate has enacted a bipartisan plan to reduce gun violence on Thursday night, which amounts to the first significant federal gun safety legislation in decades.
A huge bipartisan accomplishment on one of the nation’s most divisive policy issues was made with the final vote of 65 to 33, with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in support. However, before being brought to President Joe Biden to be signed into law, the bill must first be approved by the House and then by the Senate.
Millions of dollars will go to mental health services, school security, crisis intervention programs, and incentives for states to add juvenile records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as part of the bipartisan gun deal.
A victory for Democrats who have long battled for it, it also makes significant changes to the procedure for those between the ages of 18 and 21 seeking to purchase a firearm and eliminates the so-called boyfriend loophole.
Although it does not ban any weapons and falls far short of what Democrats and polls suggest the majority of Americans want, the package nonetheless represents the most significant piece of new federal legislation to address gun violence since the 1994 assault weapons ban, which was in place for ten years but has since expired.
A few dozen people were present in the Senate gallery before the vote. Survivors saw the historic vote in the chamber of gun violence, their families, and organizations, the senators had emphasized.
The federal gun safety bill was up for a vote on the same day that the Supreme Court overturned a New York gun law that placed restrictions on carrying a concealed pistol outside the home.
The decision highlights the competing political interests surrounding the matter at all levels of government as the judicial branch implements the largest expansion of gun rights in ten years, just as the legislative branch appears on track to pass its most important gun safety legislation in almost thirty years. Earlier in the day, the Senate took a crucial vote to advance the gun safety bill with Republican support, bringing it one step closer to passage. 15 Republican senators joined with Democrats to break the filibuster, resulting in a vote of 65-34. On final approval, the same 15 Republican senators who had previously voted to end the filibuster also supported the bill.
The ten Republican senators who agreed to an initial framework agreement on gun control are John Cornyn of Texas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Together, they cast all of the GOP’s “yes” votes in favor of the agreement. Blunt, Burr, Portman, and Toomey are the four original Republican backers who will retire this year.
Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate’s Republican party, also voted to end a filibuster on the measure.
Other notable Republican votes came from Senators Todd Young of Indiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who are up for reelection in November but were not among the original 10 Republicans to endorse the framework.
The bill passed the Senate late on Thursday, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that the House would take up the measure on Friday.
Following recent, terrible mass shootings in a store in a predominantly Black area in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, respectively, the law was put together.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.