The Senate passed a low-key but historic bipartisan gun violence bill Thursday night that seemed unthinkable just a month ago, paving the way for final passage in the House of what will be America’s response. lawmakers’ largest outreach in decades to the spate of brutal mass shootings in every corner of the United States.
The final vote was 65 in favor and 33 against. Now it goes to the lower house where it is quite likely that it will be approved due to the Democratic majority.
After years of GOP procedural delays that derailed efforts to curb guns, Democrats and some Republicans decided congressional inaction was untenable after last month’s shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. .
It was weeks of talks behind closed doors, but a group of senators from both parties emerged with a commitment to stem the bloodshed that has come to shock, but no longer surprise, the nation.
Lawmakers released the 80-page bill 11 days after agreeing on a framework for the plan and 29 years after Congress last enacted major restrictions on firearms.
What is the legislation
The $13 billion measure will toughen background checks for younger gun buyers, bar more domestic violence offenders from access to firearms, and help states implement early warning laws that make it easier for authorities to ward off guns. their reach weapons to people considered dangerous.
It will also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.
The package passed mid-election year fell far short of the tougher gun restrictions Democrats have sought for years, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in the mass murders in Buffalo and Uvalde. .
However, the deal allows leaders of both parties to declare victory and show voters that they know how to compromise and make government work, while leaving room for each side to attract its core supporters.
“This is not a panacea for all the ways gun violence affects our nation,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, whose party has made restrictions on access to firearms a target for decades. The senator acknowledged that “it is a very late step” but “in the right direction.”
“The passage of this gun safety bill is really important and will save lives,” Schumer said.
Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “the American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children to be safe in school.” He said they “want both at once, and that’s just what the Senate bill will have done.”
The vote in the lower house comes a month after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde. Just days before that, a white man was accused of being motivated by racial hatred when he killed 10 people while they were shopping at a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood near downtown Buffalo.
Both shooters were 18 years old, a youthful profile shared by many gunmen amid the new wave of shootings. The proximity of the two massacres provoked national protests demanding concrete actions against armed violence.