Arms Security Act: The Senate will take a critical vote to promote bipartisan legislation

Written by Javed Iqbal

It also makes significant changes in the process when a person aged 18 to 21 goes to buy a firearm and closes the so-called girlfriend holea victory for the Democrats, who have long fought for it.

The package represents the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994 – though it does not ban any weapons and is far from what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.

Thursday’s vote will be held to overcome a GOP filibuster and requires 60 votes to succeed, meaning at least 10 Republicans must join the Democrats to vote for.

That, however, is expected to happen after 14 Republicans voted to advance the bill in an initial vote Tuesday night.

When the Senate breaks a filibuster, it will pave the way for a final passage vote.

Here is what is in the bill on two-part gun safety

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the bill to be passed this week, though the exact time for a final vote is still unclear. A final vote in the Senate could come as early as Thursday if all 100 senators agree on a time agreement. It will take place by simple majority.

The House must then take up the bill before it can be signed into law.

The legislation came together in the wake of the recent, tragic mass shootings at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school and in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, which was located in a predominantly black neighborhood.

A two-part group of negotiators went to the Senate and unveiled a bill on Tuesday. The bill – titled the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – was passed by Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Lawmakers are now racing to pass the bill before leaving Washington for the July 4 break.

The fact that the bill was finalized and the legislation now appears to be ready for adoption by the Senate is a major victory for the negotiators who came together to reach an agreement.

The double bet seemed to be on thin ice after that appeared at several key points, but in the end the dealers were able to solve problems that arose. The agreement marks a rare case of cross-party compromise on one of the most controversial issues in Washington – a feat in today’s highly polarized political environment.

It has been notoriously difficult for lawmakers to reach a bipartisan agreement on major arms legislation in recent years, even in the face of countless mass shootings across the country.

“For far too long, political games in Washington on both sides of the aisle have halted progress toward protecting our communities and keeping families safe,” Sinema said Wednesday in a Senate speech.

“Throwing guilt and dealing with political setbacks and attacks became the path to least resistance, but the communities across our country that have experienced senseless violence deserve better than Washington’s policies as usual,” the Arizona Democrat said. “Our communities deserve a commitment from their leaders to do the hard work of putting politics aside, identifying problems to be solved, and working together toward a common foundation and common goal.”

Key provisions in the bill

The bill includes $ 750 million to help states implement and operate crisis intervention programs. The money can be used to implement and manage red flag programs – which can temporarily prevent individuals in crisis from accessing firearms through a court order – and for other crisis intervention programs such as mental health courts, drug courts and veterans’ courts.

This bill closes a one-year-old loophole in the Domestic Violence Act – the “girlfriend loophole” – which excluded people convicted of domestic violence against married partners, or partners with whom they shared children or partners with whom they lived, from having weapons. Old statutes did not include intimate partners who are not allowed to live together, be married or share children. Now the law will prevent anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime against a person who has a “lasting serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”

The law has no retroactive effect. However, it will give those convicted of domestic crimes the opportunity to restore their gun rights after five years if they have not committed other crimes.

The bill calls on states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System with grants as well as implementing a new protocol to control these records.

The bill goes after people who sell guns as their primary source of income, but who have previously avoided registering as federally licensed firearms dealers. It also increases funding for mental health and school safety programs.

GOP shared over the bill

There has been a split among some prominent members of the House and Senate GOP leadership.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he supports the two-part arms deal. But Republican top executives in the House stands in opposition to the bill and urges their members to vote “no,” even as the Senate moves toward the passage of the bill this week.

But even with House GOP leaders opposed to the bill, there are already some House Republicans who have indicated they plan to vote for it, and the Democratic-controlled chamber is expected to be able to pass the law once it is passed in Senate.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to “quickly bring it to the floor” in Parliament as it passes the Senate, “so we can send it to President Biden’s desk.”

“While more is needed, this package must be quickly allowed to help protect our children,” Pelosi said in a statement.

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Javed Iqbal

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