Gun safety bill: Senate will take critical vote to advance bipartisan legislation

It also makes significant changes to the process when someone between the ages of 18 and 21 goes to buy a gun and closes the so-called boyfriend loophole, a victory for Democrats, who have long fought for it.

The package represents the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the 10-year assault weapons ban expired in 1994 – although it does not ban any weapons and falls well short of what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.

Thursday’s vote will take place to overcome a GOP filibuster and requires 60 votes to pass, meaning at least 10 Republicans must join Democrats to vote in favor.

That is set to happen, however, after 14 Republicans voted to advance the bill in a first vote Tuesday night.

Once the Senate breaks a buccaneer, that will clear the way for a final pass vote.

Here's what's in the bipartisan gun safety bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the bill to pass this week, though the exact timing of the final vote is yet to be determined. A final Senate vote could take place as early as Thursday if all 100 senators agree to a time deal. It will take place at the threshold of a simple majority.

The House would then have to consider the bill before it can be signed into law.

The legislation was passed following the recent and tragic mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, which was in a predominantly black neighborhood.

A bipartisan group of negotiators got to work in the Senate and unveiled legislation on Tuesday. The bill – titled the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – was introduced by Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Lawmakers are now racing to pass the bill before leaving Washington for the July 4 recess.

The fact that the text of the bill has been finalized and the legislation now looks set to pass the Senate is a major victory for the negotiators who have come together to strike a deal.

The bipartisan effort appeared to be on thin ice after several key sticking points emerged, but ultimately negotiators were able to resolve the issues that arose. The deal marks a rare example of cross-party compromise on one of the most contentious issues in Washington — a feat in today’s highly polarized political environment.

Reaching bipartisan agreement on major gun legislation has been notoriously difficult for lawmakers in recent years, even in the face of countless mass shootings across the country.

“For too long, political games in Washington on both sides of the aisle have stalled progress toward protecting our communities and keeping families safe,” Sinema said Wednesday in a Senate address.

“Laying blame and trading barbs and political attacks have become the path of least resistance, but the communities across our country who have suffered senseless violence deserve better than Washington politics as usual,” said the Arizona Democrat. “Our communities deserve a commitment from their leaders to do the hard work of putting politics aside, identifying issues that need to be resolved, and working together toward common ground and common goals.”

Main provisions of the bill

The bill includes $750 million to help states implement and manage crisis response programs. The money can be used to implement and manage whistleblower programs – which can temporarily prevent people in crisis from accessing firearms through a court order – and for other programs crisis intervention such as mental health courts, drug courts and veterans courts.

This bill closes a years-old loophole in domestic violence law — the “boyfriend loophole” — that prevented those convicted of crimes of domestic violence against married partners, or partners with who they shared children or partners with whom they cohabited, to have guns. The old laws did not include intimate partners who could not live together, be married or share children. Now the law will make it illegal for anyone convicted of a crime of domestic violence against someone with whom they have a “continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” to have a firearm.

The law is not retroactive. However, it will allow those convicted of domestic violence offenses to restore their gun rights after five years if they have not committed other crimes.

The bill encourages states to include minors’ records in the nation’s instant criminal background check system with grants and implements a new protocol for checking those records.

The bill targets individuals who sell guns as their primary source of income, but who have previously avoided registering as federally licensed gun dealers. It also increases funding for mental health and school safety programs.

GOP divided on bill

A split has emerged between some prominent members of the House and Senate GOP leadership.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he supports the bipartisan gun deal. But top House Republican leaders oppose the bill and are urging their members to vote “no” even as the Senate heads to pass the bill this week.

But even with House GOP leaders opposing the bill, some House Republicans have already indicated they plan to vote for it, and the Democratic-controlled chamber should be able to pass the bill. legislation once it has been passed in the Senate.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to “get it quickly to the floor” of the House once it passes the Senate, “so that we can send it to President Biden’s office.”

“While more is needed, this package must quickly become law to help protect our children,” Pelosi said in a statement.

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