Gun safety bill: Senate will hold crucial vote to advance bipartisan legislation

The package amounts to the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the 10-year assault weapons ban expired in 1994 — though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.

The crucial vote on a federal gun safety bill came on the same day that the Supreme Court struck down a New York gun law enacted more than a century ago that places restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun outside the home.

The ruling highlights the conflicting political forces surrounding the matter at all levels of government, as the judicial branch implements the broadest expansion of gun rights in a decade, and rightly so as the legislature appears to be on course to pass the most important gun safety package in nearly 30 years. .

Decisive Vote Requires GOP Support

A vote will be held Thursday to overcome the GOP’s stumble and requires 60 votes to pass, meaning at least 10 Republicans must join the Democrats to vote for them.

That is expected to happen, however, after 14 Republicans voted to introduce the bill in a preliminary vote on Tuesday night.

Once the Senate breaks a hold, it will clear the way for a final vote of passage.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the bill to pass this week, although the exact timing of the final vote has yet to be determined. The final vote in the Senate could come as early as Thursday if all 100 senators agree to a time agreement. It will occur at the simple majority threshold.

The House of Representatives will then have to take up the bill before it can be signed into law. It’s not yet clear how quickly the bill can move through both chambers, but if the Senate takes a final vote Thursday night, the House could pass the measure soon after.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that if the Senate passes the gun safety bill on Thursday, the House will meet and approve it Thursday as well.

“We’ll try to do that today,” he said. “If they move it that fast, we’ll get it done.”

Senate rules allow any senator to slow down the process, and Schumer on Thursday called on Senate Republicans to work with Democrats to pass the legislation “before the day is up.”

The legislation came together in the wake of recent tragic mass shootings at an elementary school in Ovaldi, Texas and at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, which was located in a predominantly black neighborhood.

A bipartisan group of negotiators is set to work in the Senate and unveiled a legislative text on Tuesday. The bill — titled the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — was passed by Republican senators. John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Telles of North Carolina, Democrats. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kirsten Cinemas of Arizona.

Lawmakers are now racing to pass the law before they leave Washington for the Fourth of July recess.

The fact that the text of the law has been finalized, and the legislation now appears to be about to pass the Senate, is a huge victory for the negotiators who came together to hammer out an agreement.

The efforts of the two parties appeared to be on thin ice after several major sticking points emerged, but the negotiators eventually resolved the problems that arose. The agreement represents a rare example of compromise across party lines on one of Washington’s most contentious issues – an achievement in today’s highly polarized political environment.

Reaching a bipartisan agreement on key firearms legislation has been very difficult for lawmakers in recent years even in the face of countless mass shootings across the country.

“For far too long in Washington political games on both sides of the aisle, I have stalled progress toward protecting our communities and keeping families safe and secure,” Cinema said Wednesday in a speech in the Senate.

“Blame-and-criticism and political attacks have become the path of least resistance, but communities across our country that have suffered senseless violence deserve better than Washington’s policy as usual,” the Arizona Democrat said. “Our communities deserve a commitment by their leaders to do the serious work of putting politics aside, identifying the problems that need solving, and working together to achieve common ground and common goals.”

The main provisions of the bill

The bill includes $750 million to help countries implement and manage crisis intervention programmes. The money can be used to implement and manage red flag programs — which can temporarily deny individuals in crises access to firearms through a court order — and for other crisis intervention programs such as mental health courts, drug courts, and veterans’ courts.

This bill closes an old loophole in the domestic violence law — the “friend loop” — that bars individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence offenses against married partners, or partners who share children or cohabiting partners. Owning guns. Old laws did not include intimate partners who might not live together, marry, or share children. Now, the law will prohibit anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime from owning a weapon against someone who has an “ongoing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”

The law is not retroactive. However, those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors will be allowed to regain their rights to bear arms after five years if they have not committed other crimes.

The bill encourages states to include juvenile records in the national system for immediate criminal background checks with grants, and also implements a new protocol for checking those records.

The bill pursues individuals who sell guns as primary sources of income but previously evaded registration as federally licensed firearms dealers. It also increases funding for mental health and school security programs.

The Republican Party is divided over the bill

A split emerged among some prominent members of the House and Senate in the leadership of the Republican Party.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he supports the bipartisan arms deal. But prominent House Republicans have lined up to oppose the bill and are urging their members to vote “no,” even as the Senate moves toward passage of the bill this week.

But even with GOP leaders opposing the bill, there are already some House Republicans who have indicated they plan to vote for it, and the Democratic-controlled House is expected to be able to pass the legislation once it passes in the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to “quickly put it on the ground” in the House once it passes in the Senate, “so we can send it to President Biden’s desk.”

“While more is needed, this package must quickly become law to help protect our children,” Pelosi said in a statement.

This story was updated with additional developments on Thursday.

CNN’s Daniela Diaz and Tierney Snead contributed.

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