Despite their limited scope, US Senate gun control measures still enjoy support

Despite their limited scope, US Senate gun control measures still enjoy support

Gun control advocates joined a “March for Our Lives” rally on June 11.


Two horrific massacres in recent weeks have succeeded in bringing Democrats and Republicans close to the most significant federal legislation addressing gun violence in America in three decades.

20 senators – 10 from each side – reached an agreement on Sunday to pass legislation that would tighten some rules on gun sales and dedicate more resources to mental health treatment .

10 Republicans is just enough to ensure that the law can bypass Senate rules that have allowed the party since the 1990s to block almost any measure aimed at controlling the flood of personal weapons. on the US market.

Their settlement comes less than a month after two sensational mass shootings: first, when 10 African-Americans were killed on May 14 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and later, It was less than two weeks when 19 children and two teachers were shot dead. at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Those tragedies also focused on smaller, but more frequent cases of gun violence across the United States.

Chris Coons, a Democrat in the Senate who leads the house’s bipartisan effort, said the legislation could be enacted within days and could be passed as early as July.

“In light of the recent horrific mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and across the country, Americans have asked the Senate to take meaningful steps on this issue,” Coons said.

“This framework will save many lives. If it becomes law, it will reduce the risk of mass shootings, deadly domestic violence incidents, the violence that we see so often across the world. our streets.”

Modest measures

The measures agreed by the senators are modest, and fall far short of what US President Joe Biden called for in the wake of last month’s tragic killing.

These include:

– Advanced background checks on firearms under 21s, allowing review of juvenile and mental health criminal records

– Fund and encourage states to pass “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of those deemed dangerous to themselves or to society, and perpetrators of domestic abuse

– Heavier penalties for “straw buyers” of firearms than for others who illegally trade in weapons

– Close the loopholes in gun dealer regulations

– Federal support for state investments in school security and mental health programs

But they have failed to approach requests from gun control advocates, including an outright ban on assault rifles, as it did from 1994 to 2004, a ban on gun sales to people under 21. age, required wait times for all gun purchases, and high bans. – large capacity magazine.

Both the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings were committed by 18-year-olds using large-capacity AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles.

What’s more, any benefits that come with the law could be dealt with by a Supreme Court ruling this month that could overturn state restrictions on carrying guns anywhere. public.

‘Break the logjam’

Even so, gun control advocates are still cheering for the measures, recognizing the potential for a dramatic shift to break the gun industry’s stranglehold.

Kris Brown, president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, said: “We welcome this historic step towards gun violence prevention – a step born out of a recognition that this country needs change. and taking action to save American lives from preventable gun violence,” said Kris Brown, president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence.

“We’re breaking the logjam in Congress and demonstrating that gun safety is not just good policy – it’s good politics,” said Shannon Watts, founder of the group Action on Mothers’ Needs. .

The political margin narrows

However, advocates are not entirely confident that the measures will pass, knowing the law could be blocked if fewer than 10 of the 50 Senate Republicans support it.

Working in their favor is that none of the 10 Republicans who agreed to Sunday’s deal are running for re-election in November. Four will retire, and five will not run for re-election. to 2026; another must be re-elected in 2024.

The 20 senators are “committed to each other and to this project,” Coons said.

But the National Rifle Association, which has had a strong influence on Republicans for decades, has made their fundamental opposition clear.

“The NRA will continue to oppose any attempt to introduce gun control policies, initiatives to replace constitutional procedural safeguards, and efforts to deprive citizens of basic rights. comply with the law to protect yourself under this or any law”.

David Hogg, leader of the gun violence group March For Our Lives and himself a school shooting survivor, has called for action to counter political pressure from the NRA.

“We’re going to need a lot of gun owners to speak up and let Republican senators know they’re supported, that the NRA is only telling the NRA, not the majority, that gun owners are responsible,” he said. vote”.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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