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The Supreme Court strikes down New York’s gun law

Written by Javed Iqbal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will speak at the U.S. capital on Wednesday, June 22nd.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Speaks at US Capitol Wednesday, June 22 (Ting Shen / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

Just after the Supreme Court handed down its verdict on New York’s gun law, he became a major two-part weapons security law moved one step closer to the final passage in the Senate on Thursday after a critical vote succeeded in advancing the measure with Republican support.

The legislation is now on its way to pass the Senate before the week is over – with the possibility of a final vote taking place as early as later today.

The two-part arms deal represents the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades. It includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

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.

The critical vote on the federal gun safety law came on the same day as the Supreme Court turned down a gun law in New York that was passed more than a century ago and that places restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun outside the home.

The ruling highlights the conflicting political forces surrounding the issue at all levels of government, as the judiciary implements the largest arms rights extension in a decade, happening just as the legislature appears to be adopting its most important arms security package in nearly 30 years.

A critical vote that requires GOP support: Thursday’s vote was held to overcome a GOP filibuster and required 60 votes to succeed, meaning at least 10 Republicans would have to join Democrats to vote for.

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

Now that the Senate has broken a filibuster, the bill is on its way to a final vote.

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. It is not yet clear how quickly the bill could move through both chambers, but if the Senate holds a final vote Thursday night, Parliament can pass the measure soon after.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that if the Senate passes the gun safety bill on Thursday, Parliament will also meet and pass it on Thursday.

“We will try to do that today,” he said. “If they move it so fast, we’ll get it done.”

Senate rules allow any senator to slow down the process, and Schumer on Thursday urged Senate Republicans to work with Democrats to get the law passed “before the day is over.”

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Javed Iqbal

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