Senate Passes Biggest Gun Safety Package in 29 Years

House is expected to approve the bill Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 23, 2022 10:00 PM CDT
Senate OKs First Major Gun Curbs in Decades
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who has led the Democrats in bipartisan Senate talks to rein in gun violence, pauses for questions from reporters, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The Senate on Thursday easily approved a bipartisan gun violence bill that seemed unthinkable just a month ago, clearing the way for final congressional approval of what will be lawmakers' most far-reaching response in decades to the nation's run of brutal mass shootings. The AP reports the $13 billion measure would toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders, and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people judged dangerous. It would also fund local programs for school safety, mental health, and violence prevention.

The vote on final passage was 65-33, and it highlights the risks Republicans face by defying the party's pro-gun voters and firearms groups like the NRA. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Todd Young of Indiana were the only two of the 15 Republicans who voted to move ahead on the legislation who are up for reelection this fall. Four others are retiring and eight don't face voters until 2026. The House plans to vote on the measure Friday, and approval seems certain.

The election-year package falls far short of more robust gun restrictions Democrats have sought for years, including bans on the assault-type weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in the slayings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. Yet the accord lets leaders of both parties declare victory and demonstrate to voters that they know how to compromise and make government work, while also leaving room for each side to appeal to its core supporters. (Congress last enacted major firearms curbs 29 years ago.)

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