On Thursday night, the US Senate approved a historic bipartisan gun control bill in the aftermath of two recent mass shootings.
Marking the most comprehensive piece of gun reform legislation passed by federal lawmakers in nearly three decades, the $13 billion measure was approved 65-33 and received enough Republican support to avoid a filibuster.
The bill toughens background checks for gun buyers under 21 and provides financial incentives for states to create mental health programs and implement “red flag” laws that would keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. It also cracks down on straw purchases of weapons and closes the “boyfriend loophole” by banning people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun. The current law does not apply to abusers who are no longer married or living with their partners.
This being said, the legislation is likely to face stronger Republican opposition in the House, where Republican Whip Steve Scalise called the bill “an effort to slowly chip away at law-abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.” On the other hand, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said her legislative body would move quickly to advance the measure.
If passed by the House, the bill would be sent to the White House, to which President Joe Biden said, “Our kids in schools and our communities will be safer because of this legislation. I call on Congress to finish the job and get this bill to my desk.”