House Passes Bipartisan Gun Legislation, Sending It to Biden
WASHINGTON — The House gave its approval on Friday to a bipartisan compromise intended to stop dangerous and mentally ill people from getting their hands on firearms, ending a three-decade stalemate over how to deal with mass shootings and other deadly firearm-related incidents.
The 234-193 vote, on which 14 Republicans joined their Democrat colleagues, came exactly one month to the day after a gunman laid siege to an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and used a semiautomatic weapon to kill 19 children and two teachers.
“Our success today will never be the end of this fight, but this is a beginning,” said Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., whose son was shot and killed by a White man at a gas station in 2012, after the vote.
“This gives us hope. This gives America hope. This gives our communities the sorely needed hope that we have been crying out for, for years and years and years,” she added.
House passage of the measure came a day after 14 Republican senators joined Democrats in breaking a GOP filibuster and advancing it in the Senate. As previously reported by The Well News, the bill later passed in that chamber 65-33.
The Safer Communities Act, which imposes a more lengthy background check process for gun buyers under 21, closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” and helps states impose red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people identified as dangerous.
The bill also provides millions to fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.
“I cast this vote today with victims of gun violence from the Seventh District on my mind,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., after her vote in favor of the bill.
“In the wake of the horrific massacres in Buffalo, [New York], and Uvalde, [Texas],near-constant news reports of mass shootings across the country, and gun violence at home in our communities, I have heard from countless Virginians who want us to take concrete actions,” she said. “The people I serve are asking us to step up and protect them, their children, and all of our communities from gun violence.
“By moving forward a bipartisan agreement that includes more comprehensive background checks, strengthens incentives for states to adopt ‘red flag laws,’ and closes the ‘boyfriend loophole,’ which allows convicted domestic abusers to purchase a firearm, we are taking real actions that would help protect American families, students and law enforcement alike,” Spanberger added.
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., was among those who voted no on the measure.
“The solution to gun violence is not bribing states to implement programs which infringe upon the Second and Fourth Amendment rights of the American people,” Palmer said in a written statement. “This is another missed opportunity to specifically address school safety and the root cause of mass shootings. This broad piece of legislation is being foisted on the American people with hardly any debate and has the potential to violate the rights of law-abiding citizens.
“Now is the time to address school safety as well as public safety in our country by enforcing current state laws against threats of violence and focusing on the underlying mental health issues many of these criminals have in common,” Palmer continued. “Unfortunately, this legislation is another example of left-wing Democrats taking advantage of a tragedy to advance their agenda under the guise of dealing with the epidemic of violence afflicting our nation.”