Violation of gridlock, Congress nominated for OK gun violence bill

Written by Javed Iqbal

WASHINGTON (AP) – A bipartisan law on gun violence who seemed unthinkable a month ago is on the verge of winning the final congressional approval, a vote that will produce lawmakers’ most sweeping response in decades to brutal mass shootings that have come as a shock but that do not surprise Americans.

The House was to vote on the $ 13 billion package Friday, a month after an armed man massacred 19 students and two teachers at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school. In Buffalo, New York, a white man who authorities said was motivated by racism is accused of killing 10 black grocery stores only days before Uvalde.

The two massacres – days apart and victims of helpless people for whom the public felt immediate empathy – led both parties to conclude that Congress needed to act, especially in an election year. After weeks of closed-door negotiations, Senate negotiators from both sides came up with a compromise that took gentle but effective steps toward making such chaos less likely.

“Families in Uvalde and Buffalo, and too many tragic shootings before, have called for action. And tonight we acted, “said President Joe Biden after the passage. He said the house should send it to him quickly, adding: “Children in schools and communities will be safer because of it.”

The legislation will sharpen background checks for the youngest arms buyers, keep firearms from more violent criminals in the home and help states establish laws on red flag which makes it easier for authorities to take weapons from people deemed dangerous. It will also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

The Senate approved the measure Thursday, 65-33. Fifteen Republicans – a remarkably high number for a party that has derailed the arms curbs for years – joined all 50 Democrats, including their two independent allies, in approving the bill.

Yet it meant that less than a third of GOP senators supported the measure. And with Republicans in Parliament expected to be solid against it, the fate of future congressional actions on arms seems questionable, even as the GOP is expected to win parliamentary and possibly Senate control in the November election.

Top House Republicans called for a “no” vote in an email from No. 2 GOP Leader, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. He called the bill “an attempt to slowly abolish the rights of law-abiding citizens to the Second Amendment.”

While the bill was notable for its contrast to years of stalemate in Washington, it is far from more robust gun restrictions that Democrats have sought and Republicans have thwarted for years. These included bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used for the killings in Buffalo and Uvalde.

Yet the agreement allowed both parties’ senate leaders 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’s a long-awaited step in the right direction.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Nods the second amendment’s right to bear arms It drives many conservative voters, saying “the American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children safe in school.”

The day turned out to be bittersweet for advocates to curb gun violence. The right-wing Supreme Court emphasized the continuing strength of conservative proposals. a decision that extends Americans’ right to bear arms in public by striking down a law in New York that requires people to prove they need to carry a weapon before they get a license to do so.

A few hours before the final passage, the Senate voted 65-34 to end a filibuster of conservative GOP senators with the intent of killing the law. That was five more than the 60-vote threshold.

Still, Senate votes highlighted the caution most Republicans feel about defying the party’s pro-gun voters and firearms groups such as the National Rifle Federation. 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.

Saying GOP senators who voted “no” included potential 2024 presidential candidates like Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Cruz said the law would “disarm law-abiding citizens instead of taking serious measures to protect our children.”

The talks that produced the bill 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 2012while Cornyn has been involved in previous arms talks since 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.

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.

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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