Senate passes bipartisan gun contol bill

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The Senate passed a bipartisan gun bill late Thursday night in a 65-33 vote. 

The bill, spearheaded by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, comes in the wake of several recent mass shootings. The mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, was the major driver behind the bipartisan effort. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Safer Communities Act was the first major gun safety legislation to be passed since the Brady Bill in 1994. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responds to questions from reporters during a press conference regarding the Democratic party's shift to focus on voting rights at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responds to questions from reporters during a press conference regarding the Democratic party’s shift to focus on voting rights at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

“Tonight, the United States Senate is doing something many believed was impossible even a few weeks ago: we are passing the first significant gun safety bill in nearly 30 years,” he said in a statement. “The gun safety bill we are passing tonight can be described with three adjectives: bipartisan, commonsense, lifesaving.” 

The bill would provide funding for states to create programs that could keep weapons away from people who are dangers to themselves or others, often called red flag laws. It would also enhance background checks for gun buyers under 21, add penalties for some gun criminals and provide funding for a variety of health and mental health-related programs. 

It also addresses closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” which is a gap in federal law that means spousal domestic abusers can have gun rights taken away but not unmarried ones. 

All 48 Democrats and two independents voted for the bill along with 13 Republicans. 

The Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill were Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Richard Burr, N.C., Shelley Moore Capito, W.V., Bill Cassidy, La., Susan Collins, Maine, John Cornyn, Texas, Joni Ernst, Iowa, Lindsey Graham, S.C., Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, Rob Portman, Ohio, Mitt Romney, Utah, Thom Tillis, N.C., Pat Toomey, Penn., and Todd Young, Indiana. 

The bill now heads back to the House. President Biden has said he intends to sign it if passed. 

This is a breaking story. Check back for more details.

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