WASHINGTON ― The Senate approved a bipartisan bill on Thursday aimed toward curbing gun violence, taking motion a month after the horrific mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, amped up pressure on a response in Congress.
Fifteen Republicans joined all Democrats in support of the measure. The House is predicted to pass the bill on Friday and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
The laws, titled the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, includes modest curbs on obtaining firearms in addition to funding to bolster mental health care and faculty security. It’s the product of bipartisan compromise after weeks of negotiations led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).
The measure enhances background checks for people under 21, incentivizes states to adopt “red flag” laws, which help remove guns from the hands of people that have been deemed a danger to themselves or others, and prohibits romantic partners convicted of domestic violence who should not married to their victim from getting firearms.
It doesn’t include broader restrictions sought by gun control advocates, nonetheless, comparable to bans on assault weapons, raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21, mandating protected storage rules at home, or requiring background checks on web sales and at gun shows.
Nevertheless, it’s essentially the most significant federal gun laws in many years. Democrats and gun control advocacy groups welcomed it as an indication of progress after years of congressional gridlock on coping with gun violence.
“This may turn into essentially the most significant piece of anti-gun-violence laws Congress has passed in three many years,” Murphy said ahead of the vote. “This bill also has the possibility to prove to the weary American public that democracy just isn’t so broken, that it’s in a position to rise to the moment.”
Cornyn, who was met with a chorus of boos at his state party convention last Friday, acknowledged that Republicans needed to go outside their comfort zone. But he said the “potential we have now to save lots of lives is price any type of concession we might need needed to make during negotiations.”
“I don’t consider in doing nothing within the face of what we’ve seen in Uvalde and other communities. Doing nothing is an abdication of our responsibility,” he said.