Thursday, December 08, 2022

US Senate moves gun safety bill as Supreme Court overrules handgun limits

A bipartisan package of modest gun safety measures advanced in the US Senate on Thursday, even as the Supreme Court broadly extended gun rights by ruling Americans the constitutional right to carry handguns in public for self-defense. Is.

The Senate bill would tighten background checks for gun-buyers convicted of domestic violence or significant crimes such as juveniles. It does not include more comprehensive gun control measures supported by Democrats including President Joe Biden such as a ban on assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines.

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The 6-3 Conservative-majority Supreme Court decision overturned New York State’s limit on carrying concealed handguns outside the home. The court found that the law, enacted in 1913, violated a person’s right to “keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

Hours later, the Senate voted 65-34 to advance the gun safety package toward a final vote, which could come later in the day or on Friday. The vote sets the clock ticking for up to 30 hours of debate. Democrats urged Republicans to agree to expedite the process.

Historic court decisions and Senate procedural votes reflect the deep tension around guns in the United States. Polls show that most Americans support some new limits on firearms, a demand that typically grows after the recent mass shootings seen in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

At the same time, conservatives defend a broad reading of the Second Amendment, which they say limits most of the new restrictions on gun purchases.

The Senate vote follows an impassioned speech by Biden earlier this month in which he declared “enough” and urged lawmakers to act.

The Senate’s 80-page bipartisan Safe Communities Act would encourage states to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous and tighten background checks for gun-buyers convicted of domestic violence or significant crimes such as juveniles Will go

Lawmakers say the bill will save lives by helping stem the tide of gun killings in the United States.

According to the non-profit research group, the Gun Violence Archive, more than 20,800 people have died from gun violence in the United States so far in 2022, including homicide and suicide.

“This is not the cure-all way gun violence affects our country. But it is a long-pending step in the right direction. It is important and it is life-saving,” top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer told a floor. Said in the speech.

NRA. For ‘Monumental Victory’

A Supreme Court decision authored by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas declared that the Constitution “protects the right of a person to carry a handgun for self-defense outside of the home.”

“This is a huge victory for NRA members and gun owners across the country. Jason Oumet, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, said: “New York’s grim law, which has left its residents’ self-defense rights to the whims of a government bureaucrat, has been declared unconstitutional and must be changed. ” Statement.

“This decision opens the door to rightly changing the law in the seven remaining states that still do not recognize the right to carry a firearm for personal protection.”

In the Senate, Republicans who support the new law, insisting that it does not infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, are among their most enthusiastic constituents. He has also tried to dissuade Democrats from making such predictions, saying the success of the current legislation would be unlikely to change his party’s attitude toward guns.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who supports the law, said, “It does not touch the rights of the overwhelming majority of American gun owners, who are law-abiding citizens of sound mind.”

The bill provides funds to help states adopt “red flag” laws to keep firearms out of the hands of those deemed a danger to themselves or others. It will also fund alternative intervention measures in states where red flag laws are opposed and provide increased school safety.

It closes a “boyfriend loophole” by denying gun purchases to those convicted of abusing intimate partners in dating relationships, and allows states to add juvenile criminal and mental health records to national background check databases.

The key Republican negotiator on the bill, Senator John Cornyn, was booed last week as he discussed its contents during a speech ahead of a Republican convention in his home state of Texas.

2 Democrat Senator Richard Durbin, said the bill would provide $4.5 billion in funding to the Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education. A Republican aide estimated the total value of the measure at $13.3 billion, saying the cost was entirely offset by funding from elsewhere in the federal budget.

Read more:

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US lawmakers agree to historic bipartisan bill on gun safety

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