The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed the most substantial gun violence legislation in 30 years.
The Senate approved the bipartisan bill 65-33, with fifteen Republicans joining Democrats to pass the measure. Now, the package heads to the House, where lawmakers are expected to vote on Friday.
“Families in Uvalde and Buffalo, and too many tragic shootings before, have demanded action. And tonight, we acted,” President Joe Biden said after the passage, adding, “Kids in schools and communities will be safer because of it.”
The top two Republicans in the House - Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) oppose the measure.
Scalise said Congress must not infringe on Second Amendment rights in trying to stop violent crimes.
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Even so, the bill is likely to pass the House and become law after President Biden signs it.
Republicans and Democrats are finding a compromise on the most notable new gun legislation in decades.
The bipartisan bill would include enhanced background checks for 18 to 21-year-olds, funding for states that enact their own red flag laws, school safety measures, and stopping a domestic abuser from being able to buy a gun. Although, they get that right back after five years with no convictions.
"A gun safety bill that can be described with three words. Common sense, bipartisan, and life saving," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The changes aren't as sweeping as some Democrats would have liked. But a more extreme bill wouldn't have been able to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.
"This time the Democrats came our way and agreed to advance some common sense solutions without rolling back rights for law-abiding citizens," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). "The result is a product I'm proud to support."
That statement from McConnell on the Senate floor came as he tried to outline why this bill had Republican support
"It does not so much as touch the rights of the overwhelming majority of American gun owners who are law-abiding citizens of sound mind," McConnell said.
House Democrats have the votes to pass it although it's unclear how many Republicans will join.
One House Republican who has already said he'd be voting yes is U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) whose district represents Uvalde.
Gonzales cited domestic abuse from his stepfather in a Twitter thread and ended it with "as a Congressman it's my duty to pass laws that never infringe on the Constitution while protecting the lives of the innocent. I look forward to voting Yes"
The National Rifle Association put out a statement slamming the bill saying it doesn't truly address violent crime.
The timeline to pass the bill before the July 4th recess could have the House voting on it this weekend.