Posted by on June 23, 2022 10:35 pm
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Senate passes bipartisan gun legislation, sending measure to House

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-C.T., prepares to introduce a federal judicial nominee to the Senate Judiciary Committee during a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades) Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AP

Senate passes bipartisan gun legislation, sending measure to House

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The Senate passed a bipartisan gun reform bill on Thursday in the wake of a slew of mass shootings in recent months, including the death of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas in late May.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — negotiated by a group of senators led by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Chris Murphy (R-CT) — looks to incentivize states to implement red flag laws. The proposal would make it easier for law enforcement to confiscate a firearm and block the purchase of a gun if an individual is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, tighten background checks, close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by tightening background checks on gun purchases on those convicted of domestic violence or certain crimes as minors, and provide money for trauma support, school safety and mental health programs.

The legislation, passed 65-33, also includes language to strengthen background checks on individuals looking to purchase a gun that is under the age of 21 and cracks down on straw purchases by implementing stronger penalties.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted in favor of the measure, which has received pushback from conservatives in the House who argue that its language pertaining to red flag laws could violate due process rights.

Proponents of the measure argue that the recent shooting in Uvalde, the death of 10 people who were shot at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., and four people being killed in a hospital shooting in Tulsa, Okla. signals Congress needs to take action to curb gun violence.

“This is the sweet spot, madam president — making America safer, especially for kids in school without making our country one bit less free. The legislation before us would make our communities and schools safer without laying one finger on the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens,” McConnell said on the floor. “Its key provisions are hugely popular with the American people.”

Democrats hoped for a broader package similar to what package that passed the House along party lines. It included language to ban assault weapons. Lawmakers praised its passage as the most substantial reforms in recent history, noting the difficulties parties have had in reaching an agreement on the sensitive issue in the past.

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“For too long political games in Washington on both sides of the aisle have stopped progress towards protecting our communities and keeping families safe and secure,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the floor ahead of the vote. “Commonsense proposals have been tossed to the side bipartisan lawmakers choosing politics instead of solutions. Elected officials have made a habit of insulting one another for offering thoughts and prayers, for blaming violence on strictly mental illness or video games, for particular kinds of weapons or any cause that didn’t align with and confirm their own predetermined beliefs,”

While House GOP leaders are whipping against the measure, it is expected to pass the House before Congress breaks for its Fourth of July recess.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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