Senate Approves Historic Gun Violence Bill, House Passing Next – New York Daily News

The Senate on Thursday easily approved a bipartisan gun violence bill that seemed out of the question a month ago, putting final approval for what would be Congress’s most comprehensive response in decades to the nation’s brutal series of mass shootings.

After years of GOP procedural delays spoiling Democrats’ efforts to control guns, Democrats and 15 Republicans decided that Congress’ inaction was untenable after last month’s rampage in Buffalo and Ovaldi, Texas. It took weeks of closed-door talks, but negotiators on both sides came up with a compromise that exemplifies a growing but impactful move to reduce the bloodshed that has regularly shocked the nation — but it’s no longer a surprise.

The $13 billion measure would tighten background checks for the smallest of gun buyers, prevent firearms from more perpetrators of domestic violence, and help states put in place cautionary laws that make it easier for authorities to take guns from people who are deemed dangerous. It will also fund local school safety, mental health and violence prevention programs.

The election year package fell well short of the stricter gun restrictions Democrats had sought and frustrated by Republicans for years, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines of ammunition used in the Buffalo and Ovaldi killings. However, the agreement allowed leaders of both parties to declare victory and prove to voters that they knew how to make concessions and make government work, while leaving room for each side to appeal to its core supporters.

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

“The American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children safe in school,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), referring to the Second Amendment to the right to bear arms that drives many conservative voters. “They want both things at once, and that’s exactly what the Senate bill would accomplish,” he said.

Today has proven bittersweet for gun violence control advocates. In an affirmation of the lasting potency of conservative conservatives, the right-leaning Supreme Court has passed a decision expanding Americans’ right to carry a gun in public by repealing a New York law requiring people to demonstrate the need to carry a gun before they receive a license to do so.

McConnell praised the judges’ decision and Senate approval of the gun bill as “complementary victories that will make our country freer and safer at the same time.”

The Senate vote on the final pass was 65 to 33. The group of House Democrats who watched the vote in the back of the room included Representative Lucy Macpath (D), whose 17-year-old son was shot dead in 2012 by a man complaining that his music was too loud.

Hours earlier, senators voted 65 to 34 to end the disruption by conservative GOP senators. This was five votes more than the required 60-voice threshold. The House had planned to vote on the measure on Friday and approval appears certain.

In both votes, 15 Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats, including two of their independent allies, in supporting the legislation.

However, the votes highlighted the dangers Republicans face by challenging pro-party voters and firearms groups such as the National Rifle Association. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana were the only ones among 15 candidates to be re-elected this fall. Of the rest, four are retired and eight do not face voters until 2026.

Notably, Republican senators who voted “no” included potential 2024 presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Some of the party’s more conservative members also voted “no,” including Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

While the Senate’s action was an obvious breakthrough, the outlook for Congress’s continued movement on gun barriers appears bleak.

Less than a third of the 50 Republican senators in the Senate supported the measure, and strong Republican opposition is emphatic in the House. Senior House Republicans urged a “no” vote in an email from Republican No. 2 leader, Representative Steve Scalise, who called the bill “an attempt to slowly ditch the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Both houses — narrowly controlled by Democrats — could be run by the Republican Party after the November midterm elections.

President Biden said in a statement that Ovaldi’s residents told him when he visited Washington that he should act. Our children in schools and our communities will be safer because of this legislation. “I am calling on Congress to finish the job and get this bill to my desk,” Biden said.

The Senate’s move came one month after 19 students and two teachers were killed in Ovaldi by a gunman. A few days before that, a white man was accused of being racially motivated as he murdered 10 black grocery shoppers in Buffalo. Lawmakers from both parties said both shooters were 18 years old, a youthful image shared by many mass shootings, and the close timing of the two massacres and the victims many can identify has prompted voters to call for action.

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