Washington- The Senate voted Thursday night 65-33 to pass the bipartisan gun control bill, the most important legislation addressing guns in nearly 30 years.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who led the negotiations along with Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, said Thursday on the Senate floor that the legislation “responds” to last month’s shootings at aand in a — which left a combined total of 31 people dead, including 19 children, in a “positive and affirmative manner.”
“I don’t believe in doing anything about what we saw in Uvalde and we’ve seen in too many communities,” Cornyn said. “To do nothing is to abdicate our responsibility as representatives of the American people here in the United States Senate.”
The bill will now be sent back to the House, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to address it quickly. Although Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been urging Republicans to vote against the bill, it is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
“First thing tomorrow morning, the Rules Committee will meet to bring this life-saving legislation to the floor,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday night.
Although the bill does not represent all of the gun control measures President Biden had called for, he is expected to sign the bill into law.
In a statement released after the vote, Biden called on the House to “immediately vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk.”
“Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” he said. “Families in Uvalde and Buffalo, and too many tragic shootings before, have demanded action. And tonight, we act.”
The Republicans who voted for the bill are Senators Roy Blunt; Richard Burr; Shelley Moore Capito; Bill Cassidy; susana collins; John Cornyn; Joni Ernst; Lindsay Graham; Mitch McConnell; Lisa Murkowski; Rob Portman; Mitt Romney; Thom Tillis; Pat Toomey; and Todd Young.
McConnell said the passage of the legislation by the Senate, as well as thethe previous Thursday, made for “two historic victories”.
“I am proud of these two complementary victories that will make our country freer and safer at the same time,” the Senate Minority Leader said. “Law-abiding Americans will go to bed tonight with significantly stronger Second Amendment rights than they had this morning, while new common sense barriers around convicted felons and mental illness are now on its way to becoming law.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that he is “pleased that we are finally taking meaningful action on guns for the first time in nearly 30 years to keep communities safe.”
senate negotiatorsof the proposal earlier this month, and released the legislative text on Tuesday, after which the upper house advance the bill in a bipartisan procedural vote.
The legislation improves background checks for potential gun buyers under the age of 21, closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” clarifies the definition of a federally licensed firearms dealer, and creates criminal penalties for bogus purchases and arms trafficking. It also provides $750 million in grants to encourage states to implement crisis intervention programs and provides approximately billions of dollars in federal funds to bolster mental health services for children and families and strengthen schools.
The Senate measure falls short of whatand is significantly narrower than a package of bills that this month. That legislation would raise the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 and ban high-capacity magazines. It also encourages the safe storage of firearms and establishes requirements that regulate the storage of weapons in residential premises.
While the House legislation included many of the proposals championed by Biden, it would not have garnered enough support from Republicans to pass the 60-vote threshold for the legislation to advance in the Senate.
Democrats involved in bipartisan House discussions have acknowledged their proposal is more tailored but have said a stripped-down package is more likely to win GOP support.
Opposed to the bill is the National Rifle Association, which said in a statement Tuesday that the proposals laid out in the legislation can be “abused to restrict legal purchases of guns, infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to finance weapons. control measures being adopted by state and local politicians.
House Republican leaders have also said the Senate plan is part of an effort to erode the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. But McConnell, who voted for the bill, said on the Senate floor Wednesday that the legislation promotes “common-sense solutions without rolling back the rights of law-abiding citizens.”