WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — A bipartisan bill on gun violence in the US Senate overcame a Republican filibuster, paving the way for the most far-reaching response in Congress to brutal mass shootings in decades.
After years of procedural delays by the GOP that derailed Democratic efforts to curb guns, Democrats and some Republicans decided that congressional inaction was unsustainable after last month’s horrific attacks in New York and Texas. Closed-door talks lasted nearly a month, but a group of senators from both sides struck an 80-page deal, an incremental but impressive move.
The bill calls for stricter background checks for young gun buyers, would prevent more domestic violence offenders from accessing firearms, and help states enact laws that make it easier for officers to take guns away from people. It will also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.
Thursday’s vote by conservative Republican senators to end the blockade was 65 to 34, five more than the required 60-vote threshold. Final approval of the $13 billion measure is expected by the end of the week, followed by a vote in the House of Representatives, with no word on when that might happen.
The package – introduced in an election year – fell far short of tough restrictions Democrats demanded for years, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in Buffalo and Uvalde. However, the deal allows leaders of both parties to show voters that they know how to compromise.
“This is not a panacea for all the ways gun violence affects our country,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York. “But it’s a long overdue step in the right direction… it’s going to save lives.”
“The American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children safe in school,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, on the constitutional right to bear. Guns that support many conservative voters.
Thursday’s vote came minutes after the right-leaning Supreme Court issued a decision to publicly extend the right to bear arms. His decision struck down a New York law that required people to prove their need to carry a gun in public.
The White House expressed support for President Joe Biden’s legislation, citing his visits to Buffalo and Uvalde after the shootings.
“The families conveyed a simple message the president told the American people: do something,” it said in a statement.