US Congress passes gun-control bill following rare bipartisan compromise

Edited By: Nikhil Pandey
NEW DELHI Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 09:32 AM(IST)

In the first big step towards Gun reform, the United States Senate has passed a bill to address gun violence, Republicans joined Democrats in support of the Bipartisan safer communities act. It comes at a time when gun violence has become a major issue for the Biden administration

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By a vote of 234 to 193, the House of Representatives approved the gun control legislation on Friday, putting it to President Joe Biden's desk for signing. The law was approved earlier this week by the US Senate.

After years of false starts and attempts to tighten gun rules, US lawmakers finally imposed the most significant federal gun restrictions in decades on Friday, scrambling to respond to a recent string of brutal gun killings. After the bipartisan bill was approved by the Senate late on Thursday, the House followed suit. It restricts access to firearms for children, people who have committed domestic violence, and other people who would be a danger to their communities. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act would also provide funding for mental health and school safety initiatives.

With 14 Republicans joining all Democrats, the House passed it by a vote of 234 to 193. President Joe Biden will likely soon sign the bill into law after receiving it.

Watch | Decoding Gun Violence in America: A WION special on rise of mass shootings in the U.S.

After lone shooters killed Black shoppers at a Buffalo grocery store and children at a Texas elementary school last month, Democrats thought the law would further curtail gun violence. This week's success for proponents of gun control also included a loss when the Supreme Court invalidated a New York statute that limited people's right to carry concealed weapons. The decision puts similar legislation across the nation in jeopardy.

Despite this, Democrats celebrated the law's passage as a historic occasion after winning backing from Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who has long opposed efforts to restrict gun ownership in the wake of devastating mass shootings.

For gun purchasers aged 18 to 21, the bill approved on Friday would strengthen background checks. After the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, were both carried out by 18-year-olds using assault-style weapons, the ease with which young people can obtain firearms came under greater scrutiny. The Democrats wanted to outlaw firearms for anybody under the age of 21.

The measure attempts to prohibit gun ownership for domestic violence offenders who are not married to their partners and close the so-called boyfriend loophole. Additionally, it would establish funding for states to support red-flag legislation, which permits law enforcement or friends and family to ask a court to order the confiscation of a gun if the owner is deemed dangerous.

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