The Senate on Thursday passed a bipartisan gun safety bill that could become the most significant federal gun legislation in decades if signed into law.
Driving the news: The Senate approved the measure in a 65-33 vote, with 15 Republicans joining Democrats to vote in favor. The House has signaled that it will take up the legislation swiftly and send it to President Biden’s desk.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement after the Senate vote “the Rules Committee will meet to advance this life-saving legislation to the Floor” first thing on Friday morning.
- “When the Rules Committee finishes its business, we will head immediately to the Floor,” she added.
The big picture: The bill, called the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” includes enhanced background checks and clarification on the “boyfriend loophole,” which prevents domestic abusers from purchasing guns, unmarried or not, Axios’ Alayna Treene and Jacob Knutson report.
- It also includes increased funding for mental health and school safety and incentives for states to implement “red flag” laws.
- A bipartisan group of senators drafted the legislation in response to multiple mass shootings last month, including one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers and another that killed 10 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
- The bill was hung up last week as the “core four” senators involved in drafting the bill struggled to strike a compromise over the red flag provision and the “boyfriend loophole.”
State of play: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who voted to pass the bill, was crucial in shoring up Republican support to break the 60-vote filibuster.
- McConnell earlier this week called the bill “a common-sense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
- Yes, but: Most House Republicans have announced their opposition to the measure, Politico reports.
What they’re saying: Biden said in an emailed statement that “after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities.”
- “Families in Uvalde and Buffalo — and too many tragic shootings before — have demanded action. And tonight, we acted,” he added.
- “This bipartisan legislation will help protect Americans. Kids in schools and communities will be safer because of it. The House of Representatives should promptly vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk.”
- Bipartisan Senate group releases bill text for gun safety deal
- Read the 80-page legislative text
- Read the breakdown
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment by President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.