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Handguns are on displayed at a gun shop, Thursday in Honolulu. Photo: AP/Marco Garcia
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U.S. Senate OKs landmark gun violence bill; House passage is next

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The Senate easily approved a bipartisan gun violence bill Thursday that seemed unthinkable a month ago, setting up final approval of what will be Congress' most far-reaching response in decades to the nation's run of brutal mass shootings.

After years of GOP procedural delays that derailed Democratic efforts to curb firearms, Democrats and 15 Republicans decided that congressional inaction was untenable after last month’s rampages in New York and Texas. It took weeks of closed-door talks but a bargainers from both parties emerged with a compromise embodying incremental but impactful movement to curb bloodshed that has come to regularly shock — yet no longer surprise — the nation.

The $13 billion measure would toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged dangerous. It would also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

The election-year package fell far short of more robust gun restrictions Democrats have sought and Republicans have thwarted for years, including bans on the assault-type weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in the slayings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. Yet the accord let leaders of both parties declare victory and demonstrate to voters that they know how to compromise and make government work, while also leaving room for each side to appeal to its core supporters.

“This is not a cure-all for the all the ways gun violence affects our nation,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whose party has made gun restrictions a goal for decades. “But it is a long overdue step in the right direction."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a nod to the Second Amendment right to bear arms that drives many conservative voters, said “the American people want their constitutional rights protected and their kids to be safe in school.” He said “they want both of those things at once, and that is just what the bill before the Senate will have accomplished.”

The day proved bittersweet for advocates of curtailing gun violence. Underscoring the enduring potency of conservative cIout, the right-leaning Supreme Court issued a decision expanding the right of Americans to carry arms in public by striking down a New York law requiring people to prove a need for carrying a weapon before they get a license to do so.

McConnell hailed the justices' decision and Senate passage of the guns bill as “complementary victories that will make our country freer and safer at the same time.”

The Senate vote on final passage was 65-33. A cluster of House Democrats who watched the vote in the chamber’s rear included Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., whose 17-year old son was shot to death in 2012 by a man complaining his music was too loud.

In the key roll call hours earlier, senators voted 65-34 to end a filibuster by conservative GOP senators. That was five more than the 60-vote threshold needed. The House planned to vote on the measure Friday and approval seemed certain.

On both votes, 15 Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats, including their two allied independents, in backing the legislation.

Yet the votes highlighted the risks Republicans face by defying the party's pro-gun voters and firearms groups like the National Rifle Association. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana were the only two of the 15 up for reelection this fall. Of the rest, four are retiring and eight don't face voters until 2026.

Tellingly, GOP senators voting “no” included potential 2024 presidential contenders like Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Some of the party's most conservative members voted “no” as well, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

While the Senate measure was a clear breakthrough, the outlook for continued congressional movement on gun curbs is dim.

Less than one-third of the Senate's 50 GOP senators backed the measure and solid Republican opposition is certain in the House. Top House Republicans urged a “no” vote in an email from the No. 2 GOP leader, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, that called the bill “an effort to slowly chip away at law-abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.”

Both chambers — now narrowly controlled by Democrats — could well be run by the GOP after November's midterm elections.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said Uvalde residents told him when he visited that Washington had to act. “Our kids in schools and our communities will be safer because of this legislation. I call on Congress to finish the job and get this bill to my desk,” Biden said.

Senate action came one 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 racism as he killed 10 Black grocery shoppers in Buffalo. Both shooters were 18 years old, a youthful profile shared by many mass shooters, and the close timing of the two slaughters and victims with whom many could identify stirred a demand by voters for action, lawmakers of both parties said.

The talks were led by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C. Murphy represented Newtown, Connecticut, when an assailant killed 20 students and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, while Cornyn has been involved in past gun talks following mass shootings in his state and is close to McConnell.

Murphy said the measure would save thousands of lives and was a chance to “prove to a weary American public that democracy is not so broken that it is unable to rise to the moment.”

“I don't believe in doing nothing in the face of what we saw in Uvalde” and elsewhere, Cornyn said.

The bill would make the local juvenile records of people age 18 to 20 available during required federal background checks when they attempt to buy guns. Those examinations, currently limited to three days, would last up to a maximum of 10 days to give federal and local officials time to search records.

People convicted of domestic abuse who are current or former romantic partners of the victim would be prohibited from acquiring firearms, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole."

That ban currently only applies to people married to, living with or who have had children with the victim. The compromise bill would extend that to those considered to have had “a continuing serious relationship."

There would be money to help states enforce red flag laws and for other states without them that for violence prevention programs. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.

The measure expands the use of background checks by rewriting the definition of the federally licensed gun dealers required to conduct them. Penalties for gun trafficking are strengthened, billions of dollars are provided for behavioral health clinics and school mental health programs and there's money for school safety initiatives, though not for personnel to use a “dangerous weapon."

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It's good news, that there is a growing recognition something needs to be done, but given there are so many guns in circulation, and so many unstable people, including tgerrorists and criminals own so many guns, and the country has become too tightly wound, I expect the gun carnage to continue, particularly with the US Supreme Court's latest ruling regarding carrying guns. The gun industries and their lobbyists are smiling knowing they're getting even richer and more powerful. Sick sick country, The USA needs to wall off its borders to keep its gun-nuttery from spreading. Thank you Japan, for keeping those of us who live here safe by limiting gun access.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

US Senate OKs landmark gun violence bill; House passage is next:

As US senate passes bill, Supreme Court expands gun rights - the divided nation is waiting for House passage.

Even if the House endorses, how log will it take for bill to be implemented? What about loopholes..?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What they need to do is to freaking manage their weapon industry sector. Companies with zero responsibility. All these weapons entering the market is there real problem.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not as much as I would have liked, but I will take it.

A curious side note is that the House GQP is now whipping votes against the bill. Fun Fact: It won't matter. It's going to pass with most likely universal Democratic support.

This is an unforeseen side effect of horrible gerrymandering. This is a 90:10 issue with the GQP House leadership being on the 10-side. (Side note: Well done, Kevin. Only you could manage to position your side on the 10-side of a 90-10 issue.)

For the vast majority of GQP held seats, the ONLY threat is from the right in a primary. It's how we get to endure village idiots like Greene, Golmert, Gaetz etc. There is simply no way that they can embrace a rational gun control bill and be safe in their seat.

To be clear: They know that gun violence is a serious problem. They know that this bill is in no way an infringement on gun ownership. But to vote for it would be to invite a rebellion among the lunatic base of their party that vote in primaries. In short, it is a vote to leave Congress and the one thing they all have in common is that they LOVE being in Congress.

So This bill will become law with few, if any votes from the Cray Caucus in the House, and a minority of the minority party in the Senate.

Once again, it's up to Democrats to fix a problem.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

particularly with the US Supreme Court's latest ruling regarding carrying guns

Isn't it silly that I should have to worry about not just criminals, but idiots around me carrying guns? The ones who shout and yell that they need guns are often the ones that are the scariest to me. If anyone shouldn't have a right to carry a gun, it should include them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A curious side note is that the House GQP is now whipping votes against the bill.

As they should.

For the vast majority of GQP held seats, the ONLY threat is from the right in a primary. It's how we get to endure village idiots like Greene, Golmert, Gaetz etc. There is simply no way that they can embrace a rational gun control bill and be safe in their seat. 

Well, they see the bigger picture of what this bill will do and that means empower the Dems and some RINO Republicans to confiscate guns as they see fit.

To be clear: They know that gun violence is a serious problem. They know that this bill is in no way an infringement on gun ownership.

No, they know what it is and that is the reason they are (and rightfully) against it.

But to vote for it would be to invite a rebellion among the lunatic base of their party that vote in primaries. In short, it is a vote to leave Congress and the one thing they all have in common is that they LOVE being in Congress.

Well, RINO's like McConnell do indeed like being in congress or in plain English "overstay their welcome"

So This bill will become law with few, if any votes from the Cray Caucus in the House, and a minority of the minority party in the Senate. 

Once again, it's up to Democrats to fix a problem.

They never fixed anything or according to the Dems definition, the only thing they do is destroy everything that goes past their path.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

RINO's like McConnell

McConnell is a weasel no doubt. But he comes across as extremely Republican. He is clearly not even slightly Democrat. But you’re saying that he is a Republican In Name Only. So, if that’s the case, which of his actions are un-Republican? What are the anti-Republican actions he performs that show him to not actually be a Republican?

I mean I’m assuming you knew what RINO meant when you used it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Baby steps. The first is being taken, but many more are needed to make America safe from gun violence.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now if they can just address the "well-ordered militia" part.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Now if they can just address the "well-ordered militia" part.

But then the Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters wouldn’t have a means of overthrowing a tyrannical government.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

McConnell is a weasel no doubt. But he comes across as extremely Republican.

More like Wall St. Washington-China establishment. corporate swamp-dweller.

He is clearly not even slightly Democrat.

No, but he's a true Republican because he works on his constituents' behalf, and on that part, both parties fail miserably.

But you’re saying that he is a Republican IName Only.

Yes.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Ok so how is he un-Republican?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ok so how is he un-Republican?

Not putting the interests of his constituents first.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/mcconnell-is-going-the-wrong-way-on-guns/

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

RINO Republicans to confiscate guns as they see fit.

Should children be allowed to carry?

What does Eric Greitens say about what should be done with RINOs?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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