Sunday, November 27, 2022

US Senate approves dual gun violence bill

The Senate on Thursday easily passed a bill on dual-use violence that seemed unthinkable a month ago, setting out the final approval of what Congress’s most far-reaching response in decades would be to the country’s series of brutal mass shootings.

After years of futile Democratic efforts to crack down on firearms, 15 Republicans have joined them as both sides have decided doing so is unsustainable after last month’s turmoil in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas. It took weeks of closed-door talks, but senators came up with a compromise that embodies incremental but impactful movement to stem the bloodshed that regularly shocks the nation – but no longer surprises.

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The $ 13 billion measure will intensify background checks on the latest arms buyers, deter firearms from more perpetrators of domestic violence and help states enforce red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to seize weapons from people considered dangerous. It will also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

“Families in Uvalde and Buffalo, and too many tragic shootings before, demanded action. And tonight we performed, “said President Joe Biden after the ceremony. He said the House should send it to him quickly, adding: “Children in schools and communities will therefore be safer.”

The election year package fell far short of more robust gun restrictions that Democrats sought and Republicans thwarted for years, including bans on assault-type weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in the Buffalo and Uvalde killings. Yet the agreement allows leaders of both parties to declare victory and demonstrate to voters that they know how to compromise and get the government working, while also leaving room for each side to appeal to its core supporters.

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“This is not a cure for all the ways in which gun violence affects our nation,” said Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., leader of the Senate majority, whose party has made gun restrictions a goal for decades. “But it is a long-standing step in the right direction.”

John Deloca, Owner Of Seneca Sporting Range, Puts His 9Mm Semi-Automatic Handgun In His Pocket While Preparing For A Shooting Demonstration At His Rifle Range, June 23, 2022, In New York.

John Deloca, owner of Seneca Sporting Range, puts his 9mm semi-automatic handgun in his pocket while preparing for a shooting demonstration at his rifle range, June 23, 2022, in New York.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., In a nod to the Second Amendment to carry weapons that drive many conservative voters, said “the American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children must be safe at school. ” He said “they want both of these things at the same time, and that’s exactly what the bill reached before the Senate.”

The day was bittersweet for proponents of curbing gun violence. To underscore the lasting power of conservative effects, the right-wing Supreme Court has issued a ruling extending the right of Americans to carry weapons in public through a New York law that requires people to prove they must carry a weapon. before they get a license to do so.

McConnell praised the judges’ decision and the adoption of the gun law by the Senate as “complementary victories that will make our country freer and safer at the same time.”

The Senate vote on the final passage was 65-33. A group of House Democrats who watched the vote in the back of the chamber include Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., Whose 17-year-old son was shot dead in 2012 by a man complaining that his music is too loud.

In the key roll call hours earlier, senators voted 65-34 to end a filibuster by conservative GOP senators. That was five more than the threshold of 60 votes required. The House planned to vote Friday and approval seemed certain.

On both counts, 15 Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats, including their two allied independents, to support the legislation.

Yet the votes highlighted the risks Republicans face by defying the party’s pro-gun voters and firearms groups such as the National Rifle Association. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana were the only two of the 15 who were eligible for re-election this fall. Of the rest, four will retire and eight will only face voters in 2026.

Sen.  Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Who Led The Democrats In Two-Party Senate Talks To Curb Gun Violence, Stands Still For Questions From Reporters, At The Capitol In Washington, June 22, 2022.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Who led the Democrats in two-party Senate talks to curb gun violence, stands still for questions from reporters, at the Capitol in Washington, June 22, 2022.

Significantly, GOP senators who voted “no” included potential presidential contenders in 2024, such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Some of the party’s most conservative members also voted ‘no’, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

Cruz said the legislation would “disarm law-abiding citizens rather than take serious measures to protect our children.”

John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, praised senators who supported the measure to “come together and put the safety of the American people ahead of gun lobby priorities.”

Although the Senate measure was a clear breakthrough, the prospects for continued congressional movement on gun curbs are weak.

Less than one-third of the Senate’s 50 GOP senators supported the measure and solid Republican opposition is sure in the House. The Republicans of the House of Representatives encouraged a “no” vote in an email from No. 2 GOP leader, Rep. Louis Scalise of Louisiana, who called the bill “an attempt to slowly cut off the law-abiding citizens’ 2nd amendment rights.”

Both chambers – which are now only controlled by the Democrats – could possibly be run by the IDP after November’s midterm elections.

Senate action came one month after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde. Just days before that, a white man was accused of being motivated by racism when he allegedly killed 10 Black grocery shoppers in Buffalo. Both shooters were 18 years old, a youthful profile shared by many mass shooters, and the close timing of the two massacres and victims with whom many could identify, sparked a demand from voters for action, lawmakers from both parties said.

The discussions were led by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Thom Tillis, RN.C. Murphy represented Newtown, Connecticut, when an assailant killed 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, while Cornyn was involved in previous gun talks after mass shootings in his state and near McConnell.

Murphy said the measure would save thousands of lives and is a chance to “prove to a tired American public that democracy is not so broken that it cannot rise to the present.”

“I do not believe in doing anything in the face of what we have seen in Uvalde” and elsewhere, Cornyn said.

The bill would make available the local youth records of people between the ages of 18-20 during required federal background checks when trying to purchase guns. Those exams, currently limited to three days, will last up to a maximum of 10 days to give federal and local officials time to search records.

People convicted of domestic abuse and who are current or former romantic partners of the victim will be banned from acquiring firearms, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole”.

This prohibition currently only applies to people who are married to, with or who had children with the victim. The compromise bill will extend it to those considered “an ongoing serious relationship.”

There will be money to help states enforce red flag laws and for other states without it for violence prevention programs. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.

The measure expands the use of background checks by rewriting the definition of the federally licensed arms dealers required to conduct it. Penalties for arms trafficking are intensified, billions of dollars are provided for behavioral health clinics and school mental health programs, and there is money for school safety initiatives, but not for staff to use a “dangerous weapon.”

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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