24 Jun 2022

"Bipartisan, Saving Lives": US Senate Approves Gun Control Bill After Decades

U.S. senators pushed for a bipartisan bill last Thursday dealing with the global gun violence epidemic, which approved a host of new gun billions and billions of dollars in mental health funding and school safety funding.
The reforms - which were almost rubber-sealed by the House of Representatives on Friday - fall short of the needs of firearms lawyers and President Joe Biden, but have been hailed as a life-saving achievement after nearly 30 years. the inefficiency of Congress.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, supported by all 50 Democratic Alliance senators and 15 Republicans, includes advanced background checks for consumers under the age of 21, $ 11 billion in mental health funding and $ 2 billion in security programs in schools.

It also provides funding to encourage countries to use the "red flag" laws to remove guns from people considered a threat.

It also closes the so-called “boyfriend” gap, where domestic abusers can avoid being barred from buying guns if they are single or living with their victims.

"Today, the United States Senate is doing something that many believe is impossible a few weeks ago: we are passing the first major gun safety bill in almost 30 years," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said after the bill was passed.

"The gun safety bill we are passing tonight can be defined in three terms: bipartisan, commonsense, life-saving."

His Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell said the law would make America safer "without making our country a little more independent."

"This is a package of common sense. Its offers are very popular, very popular. It contains new zero restrictions, new freeze waiting times, zero authorizations and zero restrictions of any kind for law-abiding gun owners."

The National Rifle Association and many other Republicans in both chambers of Congress are opposed to the bill but it is sanctioned by civil rights groups, domestic violence and mental illness.

The Senate and the House are on a two-week hiatus from next week but the House of Representatives is expected to pass a Senate bill on a smaller scale before members leave town on Friday night.

'History Day'

Succeeding is the work of a multi-stakeholder group that for weeks has been articulating details and resolving disputes.

Lawmakers were trying to end negotiations quickly to take part in the shooting of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas and 10 black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, north of New York, both last month.

Chris Murphy, a Democrat leading Senator, praised "a historic day."

"This will be the most important milestone in the anti-violence bill passed by Congress over 30 years," he said in a Senate floor.

"This bill has the potential to prove to American society that we are concerned that democracy is not broken, so that it can rise to the present."

The state's last major firearms law was passed in 1994, introducing a national intelligence program and prohibiting the construction of assault rifles and large pieces of ammunition for public use.

But it expired ten years later and since then there has been no serious movement about change, despite growing gun violence.

Biden was pushing for major reforms, including the reversal of the gun ban - which was used in shootings in Texas and New York - as well as powerful magazines.

But the political challenge to legislate in the Senate 50-50, where most bills require 60 votes to pass, means that broader changes are unreasonable.

"The morning after the Uvalde disaster, the United States Senate went to the polls," Schumer said.

"We can dedicate ourselves to the gridlock ... Or we can choose to try to build a bipartisan path forward to pass a real bill, which is as difficult as that may seem to many."

Voting has been a blessing to gun safety activists for hours after being disappointed by a Supreme Court ruling that Americans have a basic right to own a firearm in public.

The 6-3 decision struck a 100-year-old New York law that required a person to prove that he had a legal need to defend himself in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm outside the home.

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