The package equates to the most significant new federal law to address gun violence since the 1994 10-year assault weapons ban – though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of Democrats and polls. What most Americans want to see.
That is expected to happen, however, as 14 Republicans voted to advance the bill in a preliminary vote on Tuesday evening.
Once the Senate cracks a filibuster, it will pave the way for a final passing vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the bill to be passed this week, although the exact timing of the final vote is still to be determined. A final Senate vote could come as early as Thursday if all 100 senators agree to a one-time deal. It will be at the limit of simple majority.
The House has to consider the bill before it can be signed into law.
The law came together after the recent, tragic mass shootings in a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school and Buffalo, New York, supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood.
A bipartisan group of negotiators is set to work in the Senate and unveiled the legislative text on Tuesday. Bill – Titled the Bipartisan Safe Communities Act – Republican Sens of Texas. John Cornyn and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sens. It was released by Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona.
Lawmakers are now racing to pass the bill before leaving Washington for the July 4 recess.
The fact that the bill text was finalized, and the legislation is now ready to pass the Senate, is a major victory for the negotiators who came together on an agreement.
It has been extremely difficult for lawmakers to reach a bipartisan agreement on a major gun law in recent years, despite countless mass shootings across the country.
“Both sides of the aisle for the long political game in Washington have stalled progress toward protecting our communities and keeping families safe and secure,” Cinema said in a speech to the Senate on Wednesday.
The Arizona Democrat said, “Blaming blaming and the trade of political barbs and strikes became the path of least resistance, but the communities that have experienced senseless violence across our country are better than Washington politics as ever.” ” “Our communities deserve a commitment from their leaders to work hard to set politics aside, identify problems that need solving, and work together toward common ground and common goals.”
Major Provisions in the Bill
The bill closes a year-old loophole in domestic violence law – the “boyfriend loophole” – which prohibited individuals who were convicted of domestic violence offenses against married partners, or with whom they had children or partners. with whom he had cohabitation. having guns. The old statutes did not include intimate partners who could not live together, be married, or share children. Now, the law will bar anyone who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense against a person who has a “continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” from possessing a gun.
The law is not retroactive. However, it would allow people convicted of domestic violence offenses to have their gun rights reinstated after five years if they have not committed other crimes.
The bill encourages states to include juvenile records in the national rapid criminal background check system with grants and also introduces a new protocol for checking those records.
The bill goes after individuals who sell guns as a primary source of income but previously avoided registering as federally licensed firearms dealers. It also raises funding for mental health programs and school safety.
GOP split on bill
A split has emerged between some key members of the House and Senate GOP leadership.
But despite House GOP leaders opposing the bill, there are already some House Republicans who have indicated they plan to vote for it, and want to pass legislation after being passed from the Democrat-controlled chamber to the Senate. expected to be able to.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised the House “rapidly bring it to the floor” after it is passed by the Senate, “so that we can send it to President Biden’s desk.”