(EFE).- The United States Senate passed a bipartisan gun control bill on Thursday, the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades.
It comes following mass shootings in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York City, and in a school in Uvalde, Texas.
This is the first time in decades that the Republicans and Democrats have both agreed to vote in favor of stronger gun control. The bill will now move to the House of Representatives, where Democrats have a majority, before going to President Joe Biden to sign.
The bill went ahead with the support of all 50 Democratic senators, joined by 15 Republicans – including Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – while 33 other conservatives voted against it.
The 15 are: Roy Blunt (Mo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), John Cornyn (Texas), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Todd Young (Ind.).
“Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” Biden said in a statement.
“Families in Uvalde and Buffalo – and too many tragic shootings before – have demanded action. And tonight, we acted.”
Biden assured that the bill will “help protect Americans” and that children in schools and communities will be safer, and urged the House to approve the measure so that it be signed into law.
The bill includes tougher background checks on those under 21 years of age buying weapons, and millions in funding for mental health, crisis management, school upgrades and to incentivize states to implement “red flag” laws to confiscate firearms from those representing a danger to themselves or others.
In addition, the bill also closes “the boyfriend loophole” to keep weapons out of the hands of the dating partners of domestic abusers, extended from those married to, living with, or who have a child with the person.
Just hours earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court issued US expanded gun rights by finding that a New York law requiring residents to prove good reason to carry firearms in public violates the constitution. EFE
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