“We’re not going to leave until we pass this bill,” Schumer said. “This is not a panacea for all the ways that gun violence is affecting our country, but it is a long overdue step in the right direction. This is important, it will save lives, and I intend to do it as soon as possible.”
The Gun Safety Act represents the most significant congressional response to mass shootings in nearly 30 years. The package, negotiated by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), John Cornyn (D-Texas), Kirsten Cinema (D-Arizona) and Tom Tillis (D-North Carolina), arrived about a month after the gunman was killed. 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
Senate Minority Representative John Thune (RS.D.) said Thursday that the timing of final passage depends on whether the House votes on the amendments to the package. Republicans may delay passing a bill if they don’t get the required votes because any swift action requires unanimous consent.
“At the moment there is very strong interest in at least a small number” of amendments, Thune said. Cornyn agreed that his “prejudice is in favor of amendments”.
The bill includes grants to states to implement so-called red flag laws, which allow the temporary confiscation of firearms from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others, as well as other crisis intervention programs.
In addition, the law closes the so-called boyfriend loophole by barring individuals convicted of minor offenses of domestic violence against dating partners or former dating partners from purchasing firearms for at least five years. Under this provision, the right to firearms will be reinstated after this period if the individual has committed a first-time offense and has not committed any violent act during that period of time.
The bill also requires the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Record System to contact state, local law enforcement, and the state juvenile information system to find out if a person under the age of 21 has “disqualifying” minor records for the purchase of a firearm. , including mental health problems. This provision expires after 10 years.
In addition, the legislation would make it a federal offense to purchase a firearm on behalf of a prohibited person and clarify registration requirements for commercial firearms dealers that exist “primarily” for profit.
Finally, the bill includes new spending on school safety and mental health care. The mental health component of the package, led by Senators Debbie Stabenow (R-M) and Roy Blunt (R-M), provides new funding for states to invest in community behavioral health clinics as well as school-based mental health programs. . This portion is valued at approximately $8.5 billion, more than half of the package’s proposed price.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the package on Thursday, saying it “will make our country safer without making it less free.”
Highlighting the political volatility of the issue, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled to strike down a New York state law that restricted the ability to obtain concealed carry permits.