U.S. House passes gun-safety legislation in victory for Biden

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed major gun safety legislation for the first time in three decades, sending it to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it.

The House voted 234 to 193 for the bill, the day after a Supreme Court ruling broadly expanding gun rights. No Democrats opposed it, while 14 Republicans supported the measure. It was backed by major law enforcement groups, and its passage was a rare defeat for American firearms manufacturers and the National Rifle Association.

The House action followed a late Thursday Senate vote of 65 to 33 to pass the bill, with 15 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in favor.

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Gun control has long been a divisive issue in the United States, with multiple attempts to impose new controls on gun sales failing repeatedly through Friday.

Passage of what some Democrats called a modest first-stage bill followed mass murders last month at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

“The legislation … includes several strong measures to save lives, not only from horrific mass shootings, but also from the daily massacre of crimes committed with firearms, suicides and tragic accidents,” said the president of the House, Nancy Pelosi, during debate.

Noting that guns have become the number one killer of children in America, Pelosi said Congress must now go further and legislate more changes to gun sales background checks and restrictions on “high-capacity armament”.

The bill takes some action on background checks by allowing access, for the first time, to information about significant crimes committed by minors. It also cracks down on gun sales to buyers convicted of domestic violence. And it provides new federal funding to states that enforce “red flag” laws intended to remove firearms from people deemed dangerous to themselves and others.

Gun control group Brady described the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” as “the toughest gun violence prevention law in 30 years” and cited the “100 people killed every day with firearms.” fire” in America. Many of these deaths are the result of suicide.

“Today they (the Democrats) are attacking the Second Amendment freedoms of law-abiding American citizens,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. He was referring to the constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” which conservatives say should be broadly protected.

DEEP DIVISION

On Thursday, the Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, struck down New York state limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home. The court found the law, enacted in 1913, to be unconstitutional. Read more

The decision and gun safety legislation passed on Friday illustrate a deep division on guns in the United States, weeks after the Uvalde and Buffalo shootings that killed more than 30 people, including 19 youths. children in a primary school. Read more

The National Rifle Association, the nation’s most powerful gun lobby, said the court’s decision was “a monumental victory” for American gun owners.

On Friday, he attacked the bill passed by Congress, calling it a “senseless” gun control measure that “will only violate the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

The legislation passed by Congress is considered modest for a country with the highest number of guns per capita in the world and the highest number of mass shootings per year among wealthy nations.

In 2020, the US gun death rate jumped 35% to its highest level since 1994, with particularly deadly levels for young black men, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. of the United States in a report published on May 10.

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Reporting by Katharine Jackson, David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis, Bill Berkrot and David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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