US Senate passes ground-breaking gun control legislation

Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes enhanced background checks for people under the age of 21 . $11 billion in funding for mental health and $2 billion for school safety initiatives .

WASHINGTON (D) — Senate Republicans in the United States signed a bipartisan bill on Thursday to tackle the national epidemic of gun violence, authorizing a narrow package of new weapons laws and billions in mental health and school safety funds.The legislation, which are almost certain to be signed into law by the House of Representatives on Friday, do not meet the needs of gun rights campaigners and President Joe Biden, but have been hailed as a life-saving breakthrough after almost 30 years of Congress' inaction.The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was backed by all 50 Democratic senators and 15 Republicans, includes enhanced background checks for people under the age of 21, $11 billion in funding for mental health and $2 billion for school safety initiatives.It also provides funds to encourage states to implement red flag laws requiring guns to be removed from citizens considered a danger.

After the bill was passed, Senate Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer said tonight that the US Senate is doing something that many thought was impossible just a few weeks ago: we're passing the first significant gun control bill in nearly 30 years.The gun control bill we are passing tonight can be described as bipartisan, common sense, and lifesaving.Mitch McConnell, his Republican counterpart, said the bill would make America safer while also making our country one bit less free.This is a common-sense package.

It includes zero new restrictions, zero new waiting periods, zero requirements, and zero prohibitions of any kind for law-abiding gun owners.Although the bill was rejected by the National Rifle Association and many Republicans in both chambers of Congress, advocacy organizations working in policing, domestic violence, and mental illness supported it.Beginning next week, the Senate and House will go on a two-week break, but the Democratic-controlled House is expected to pass the Senate's bill with little fuss before members leave town on Friday night.The breakthrough is the work of a cross-party coalition of senators who have been hammering out the details and settling disagreements for weeks.

Chris Murphy, the senator who leads Democratic talks, lauded a historic day.On the Senate floor, he said that this would be the most significant piece of anti-gun-violence legislation Congress has passed in three decades.This bill has the ability to prove to the irritated American population that democracy isn't so broken that it can stand up to the challenges that are present.In 1994, the last major federal gun control legislation was enacted, including a national background check system and prohibiting the manufacturing of assault rifles and large capacity bullet clips for civilian use.

Biden had called for more drastic measures, including the reinstatement of the prohibition on assault rifles, which were used in both the Texas and New York shootings, as well as a ban on high-capacity magazines.More comprehensive changes are also unrealistic, considering the political challenge of enacting legislation in a 50-50 Senate, where the majority bill requires 60 votes to pass.Schumer said that the US Senate was faced with a choice the morning after the tragedy in Uvalde.We could surrender to gridlock... Or, we could choose to try and find a bipartisan way forward to pass a real bill, as difficult as it may have seemed to be to some.

The 6-3 decision sank down to a more than century-old New York statute that required a person to demonstrate they had a valid self-defense interest in order to carry a concealed handgun outside the home.