US Senate Passes First Major Bipartisan Gun Safety Legislation in Decades
02:18 GMT 24.06.2022 (Updated: 03:17 GMT 24.06.2022)
The vote comes several hours after the Supreme Court of the United States expanded gun rights and ruled that Americans are provided the broad right to arm themselves in public.
With a 65-33 vote on Thursday, the US Senate voted to pass S.1738, the ‘Safer Communities Act,' a bipartisan bill heralded as the country's first major gun safety legislation in decades.
The bill was brought to a final vote following an earlier advancement in which 15 GOP senators joined Democrats to break the filibuster.
Republicans who supported the measure included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), top GOP negotiator Sen. John Cornyn, and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
McConnell heralded the bill's contents as "commonsense solutions" to issues that are "overwhelmingly popular [with] awful gun owners."
The bill will now advance to the US House of Representatives, where the proposed legislation will promptly reach the floor, according to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“First thing tomorrow morning, the [House Committee on Rules] will meet to advance this life-saving legislation to the [House] Floor," Pelosi said following the Thursday vote. "When the Rules Committee finishes its business, we will head immediately to the Floor.”
The House and Senate scheduled for a two-week recess after Friday.
"Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities," US President Joe Biden said in a statement. "Families in Uvalde and Buffalo - and too many tragic shootings before - have demanded action. And tonight, we acted."
The bill boosts federal background check requirements for those under 21 years old and also includes funding for mental health and school safety in the wake of the recent Uvalde school shooting in Texas, where 19 elementary school students and two teachers were slain by an 18-year-old gunman.
The proposed legislated bill also offers incentives for the implementation of “red flag” laws that can temporarily block gun sales to individuals deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The bill does not ban assault rifles, raise the minimum age required to purchase a semiautomatic rifle, or call for background checks for private US gun sales.
Former US President Donald Trump, the National Rifle Association, and several GOP lawmakers have come out in opposition to the bill, which comes as a product of bipartisan draft negotiations led in part by Sen. Cornyn of Texas, a Republican.
The former US president took to social media on Wednesday to lash out at Cornyn, McConnell, and other Republican lawmakers who supported the proposed legislation.
"Republicans, be careful what you wish for!!!" read Trump's post to Truth Social.
The House Freedom Caucus has taken issue with the bill's incentives for "red flag" laws to be implemented or enhanced. The Republican congressional caucus argued that the laws "permit the preemptive seizure of firearms from Americans without due process."