Washington- The Senate voted 65 to 33 late Thursday to pass the bipartisan gun control bill, the most important gun legislation in nearly 30 years.
Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who led the negotiations with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, said on the Senate floor on Thursday that the legislation “reacts” to last month’s shootings at aand on a — which killed a total of 31 people, including 19 children — in a “positive and affirmative manner”.
“I don’t believe in doing nothing in light of what we’ve seen in Uvalde and seen in far too many communities,” Cornyn said. “To do nothing is to waive our responsibilities as representatives of the American people here in the United States Senate.”
The bill is now being sent back to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to consider it soon. Although minority leader Kevin McCarthy has urged Republicans to vote against the bill, it is expected to pass by the Democrat-controlled House.
“Tomorrow morning, the Rules Committee will meet to get this life-saving legislation on the ground,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday evening.
While the bill does not represent all of the gun control measures President Biden had asked for, he is expected to sign the bill.
In a statement released after the vote, Mr Biden called on the House to “immediately vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk.”
“Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call from families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” he said. “Families in Uvalde and Buffalo – and too many tragic shootings before – have demanded action. And tonight we took action.”
Republicans who voted for the bill are Sens. Roy Blunt; Richard Bram; Shelley Moore Capito; Bill Cassidy; Susan Collins; John Cornyn; Joni Ernst; Lindsey Graham; Mitch McConnell; Lisa Murkowski; Rob Portman; Mitt Romney; Thom Tillis; Pat Toomey; And Todd Young.
McConnell said the Senate’s approval of the legislation, as well as the…earlier Thursday, delivered “two historic victories.”
“I am proud of these two complementary victories that will make our country freer and safer at the same time,” said the Senate minority leader. “The law-abiding Americans will go to bed tonight with significantly stronger Second Amendment rights than they had this morning, as new, sober guardrails around convicted criminals and mental illness are now on their way to becoming law.”
Senate Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that he is “glad that for the first time in nearly 30 years we are finally taking meaningful action on guns to keep communities safe.”
Senate Negotiatorsof the proposal earlier this month, and unveiled the legal text on Tuesday, after which the Senate to move the bill forward in a bipartisan procedural vote.
The legislation improves background checks for potential gun buyers under the age of 21, closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” clarifies the definition of a federally licensed firearms dealer, and imposes criminal penalties for straw purchases and arms trafficking. It also provides $750 million in grants to encourage states to implement crisis intervention programs and provides roughly billions of dollars in federal funding to strengthen mental health services for children and families and strengthen schools.
The Senate’s measure doesn’t go as far as what?and is considerably narrower than a package of bills that this month. That legislation would raise the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 and prohibit large-capacity magazines. It also encourages the safe storage of firearms and sets requirements for the storage of weapons in residential buildings.
While the House legislation contains many of the proposals that Mr. Biden has advocated, it would not have received enough support from Republicans to cross the 60-vote threshold for legislation in the Senate.
Democrats involved in the bipartisan discussions in the Senate have acknowledged that their proposal is more tailor-made, but have said a slimmed-down package had a better chance of gaining GOP support.
The bill is being opposed by the National Rifle Association, which said in a statement Tuesday that the bill’s proposals could be “misused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund guns.” .” control measures taken by state and local politicians.”
House Republican leaders have also said the Senate plan is part of an effort to erode Americans’ law-abiding Second Amendment rights. But McConnell, who voted in favor of the bill, said on the Senate floor on Wednesday that the legislation “promotes sound solutions without reversing the rights of law-abiding citizens.”