Arms bill on the way to passage as Senate overcomes GOP delays

Written by Javed Iqbal

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate pushed a bill on two-gun violence to the brink of scrutiny Thursday as it voted to halt a Republican filibuster against the measure, paving the way for Congress’ most far-reaching response in decades to the nation’s course of brutal mass shootings.

After years of GOP procedural delays that derailed democratic efforts to curb firearms, Democrats and some Republicans decided that the passivity of Congress was unsustainable after last month’s vandalism New York and Texas. It took weeks of closed-door negotiations, but a group of senators from both parties emerged with an 80-page compromise that embodied step-by-step but effective movement.

The measure will sharpen background checks on the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from multiple perpetrators of domestic violence and help states enforce red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people considered dangerous. It will also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

Thursday’s name call, which ended the blockade of conservative GOP senators, was 65-34, five more than the required threshold of 60 votes. The final review of the $ 13 billion measure was expected by the end of the week with a vote in Parliament. The timing was uncertain, but Congress was scheduled to leave the city over the weekend for a two-week break.

Fifteen Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats, including their two independent allies, to vote to move the law forward.

The day turned out to be bittersweet for advocates to curb gun violence. Emphasizes the enduring power of conservative cIout, the right-wing one The Supreme Court issued a ruling extending Americans’ right to bear arms in public. The judges struck down a law in New York that required people to prove a need to carry a weapon before being licensed to do so.

The Senate vote highlighted the risks Republicans face by defying the party’s pro-gun voters and the National Rifle Association. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana were the only two of the 15 on election this fall. Of the rest, four will retire, and eight will first meet voters in 2026.

Reportedly, GOP senators who voted “no” included potential presidential candidates from 2024 such as Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Some of the party’s most conservative members also voted ‘no’, including Sens. Rand Paul from Kentucky and Mike Lee from Utah.

The election year package was far from more robust gun restrictions that Democrats have been seeking for years, including bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used for the killings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas. Still, the agreement allowed leaders of both parties to declare victory and demonstrate to voters that they know how to compromise and make the government work, while giving room for each side to appeal to its core supporters.

“This is not a cure for all the ways in which gun violence affects our nation,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., whose party has made gun restrictions a goal for decades. “But it is a long-awaited step in the right direction. It is important, it will save lives. “

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said in a nod to the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, which drives many conservative voters, “the American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children safe in the school.” He said, “they want both of these things at once, and that’s exactly what the Senate bill would have achieved.”

While the Senate measure was a clear breakthrough, the prospects for continued congressional movement on the curbs are weak.

Only about a third of the Senate’s 50 GOP senators supported the measure, and solid Republican opposition is safe in Parliament. Republicans from Top House called for a “no” vote in an email from GOP leader No. 2, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, calling the bill “an attempt to slowly cut off the rights of law-abiding citizens to the Second Amendment.”

Both chambers – now narrowly controlled by Democrats – could very well be governed by the GOP after the midterm elections in November.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said Uvalde residents told him when he visited that Washington needed to act.

“Our children in schools and our communities will be safer because of this legislation. I urge Congress to finish the work and get this bill to my desk,” Biden said.

The Senate’s action came a month after an armed man killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde. Just 10 days before that, a white man accused of being motivated by racism killed 10 black groceries in Buffalo. Both shooters were 18 years old, a youthful profile shared by many mass shooters.

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

The bill would make the local youth records for people ages 18 to 20 available during required federal background checks when attempting to purchase weapons. These investigations, currently limited to three days, will last up to a maximum of 10 days to give federal and local officials time to search records.

Persons convicted of domestic violence and who are current or former romantic partners of the victim will be banned from acquiring firearms, closing the so-called “girlfriend bribe.”

That prohibition currently applies only to persons who are married to, live with, or have had children with the victim. The compromise proposal would extend it to those who are considered to have had “a lasting serious relationship.”

There would be money to help states enforce red flag laws and for other states without them for violence prevention programs. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws, and Cornyn – whose state does not have – demanded that all states be included in the negotiations.

The measure expands the use of background checks by rewriting the definition of the federally licensed arms dealers needed to perform them. Penalties for the arms trade are being tightened, billions of dollars have been given to behavioral health clinics and schools’ mental health programs, and there is money for school security initiatives, but not for staff to use a “dangerous weapon.”

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Javed Iqbal

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