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US Senate passes gun control bill – House vote imminent

Row of handguns. (US Coast Guard Academy/Released)
June 24, 2022

With the support of 15 Republicans, the United States Senate passed on Thursday a new gun control bill that includes funding for state-run “red flag” gun confiscation laws and more.

Passing with a vote of 65-33, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act also includes stricter background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21, adds new gun ownership restrictions for domestic abusers, and provides funding for some mental health programs.   

The Republicans who helped break the 60-vote filibuster threshold are:

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
  • Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina
  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
  • Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina
  • Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah
  • Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
  • Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
  • Sen. Todd Young of Indiana
  • Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
  • Sen. John Cornyn of Texas

“I am proud that after weeks of hard work, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill I negotiated with my colleagues,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Our bill will save lives while placing no new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.”

Fellow Senate Republican Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee slammed the legislation as “giving the left a foothold to limit the 2nd Amendment.”

“Enhanced funding for school security & mental health treatment is a good thing — but it’s being combined with giving the left a foothold to limit the 2nd Amendment,” Blackburn tweeted. “I voted against the gun control bill because Americans’ constitutional right to keep & bear arms is not negotiable.”

Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America (GOA) – a Second Amendment advocacy group – also spoke out against the gun control legislation.

“We don’t force people to jump over hurdles before they exercise other rights in the Bill of Rights. And we certainly shouldn’t do that with the Second Amendment, which protects the God-given right of self-defense,” Pratt said.

GOA also vowed to legally challenge the “unconstitutional laws.”

“Gun confiscation laws, gun purchase wait periods, and backdoor UBCs pass the Senate 65-33 with the support of 15 Republicans. Gun Owners of America will challenge these unconstitutional laws in court to defend the rights of all Americans!” the group tweeted.

The gun control bill is now in the House, where lawmakers are expected to fast-track the legislation for a vote as soon as Friday. After its expected passage, they will send the measure to President Joe Biden’s desk as quickly as possible.

“After the Senate passes this bill, the House will swiftly bring it to the floor so that we can send it to President Biden’s desk, ” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement earlier this week. “While more is needed, this package must quickly become law to help protect our children.”