What's Inside? US Senate Group Reveals 80-Page Bipartisan Gun Safety Bill
04:35 GMT 22.06.2022 (Updated: 17:33 GMT 22.01.2023)
The bill will include money for school safety, mental health, state crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to report juvenile records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), as well as potentially close the so-called ‘boyfriend loophole.’
A group of bipartisan US senators were finally able to reach a decision late Tuesday on a new gun safety bill, which comes on the heels of the Robb Elementary School shooting. The Texas massacre is considered the deadliest shooting ever at a public school in the Lone Star State, and the third deadliest school shooting in the US ever.
The angry, young American male has made his violent rounds for over two decades since one of the most shocking school shootings in 1999: the Columbine High School shooting in which an 18 year-old boy and 17 year-old boy killed 13 and wounded 20 others at their high school despite various red flags leading up to the event.
As the New York Post’s Maureen Callahan puts it, mass shootings committed by angry, misogynistic young men are no longer a rare tragedy but a feature of the US.
An 80-page bipartisan gun safety bill may finally tackle America’s cancer. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) led weeks of negotiations for democrats while Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) led negotiations for Republicans. The bill may become the first gun control measure to pass Congress in 30 years, and has been referred to by Murphy as a “breakthrough” on gun violence.
The measure was advanced in the Senate chamber with a 64-34 vote, with 14 Republican lawmakers crossing the aisle. Should the vote tally maintain, it will break the 60-vote filibuster. A final vote may be held on Thursday.
But what do some of these breakthrough features include?
Reviews Gun Buyers Aged 18 to 21:
Both the Uvalde and Buffalo shooters were only 18 when they legally purchased their guns and committed mass murder. The proposed bill would enhance background checks on those aged 18 to 21 by requiring (NICS) to disqualify individuals with juvenile records from being able to purchase guns. It would also keep in place the current law of requiring a three-day background check investigation on 18 to 21 year-olds who wish to buy firearms.
Closing The ‘Boyfriend Loophole’:
The ‘boyfriend loophole’ is one of the more dizzying gun laws in which a domestic abuser who is just a ‘boyfriend’ is still allowed to purchase a firearm despite a history of violence against their romantic partner. Those who physically abused their spouse, a person whom they share a child with or live with, are not allowed to own guns, but politicians in the US didn’t see violent boyfriends or girlfriends as an issue, apparently.
The new bill would disallow anyone from purchasing a gun if they had been convicted of a domestic violence crime against an individual they have a “continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with,” thereby closing the boyfriend loophole.
If the abuser hasn’t committed other crimes after five years they are then allowed to purchase a gun.
Funding for Preventative Programs & Other Interventions:
The bill would also include incentives for states to create ‘red flag laws’ that would allow law enforcement to remove firearms from an individual who is displaying threatening signs towards himself or those around him.
Before the Uvalde shooting, the 18 year-old gunman was threatening to “kidnap, rape or kill” women he spoke to online. Reports were ignored. The shooter in Buffalo, New York, was active on (oftentimes racist) online chat groups on the Discord messaging platform. Law enforcement officials found a roughly 600-page chat log written by the alleged shooter in which he detailed plans for the shooting at Tops.
The legislation would also make it so mental health courts, drug courts, and veterans’ courts, as well as assisted outpatient treatment courts will see more funding. The bill would also set up due process for intervention programs. However, Cornyn made it clear that if a state does not include due process protections, that state will not be eligible for funding.
Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised the bill in a unifying moment across the aisle.
“This bipartisan gun-safety legislation is progress and will save lives. While it is not everything we want, this legislation is urgently needed,” Schumer said.
“For years, the far left falsely claimed that Congress could only address the terrible issue of mass murders by trampling on law-abiding Americans’ constitutional rights. This bill proves that false. Our colleagues have put together a commonsense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said McConnell.
Activist group March for Our Lives, which works to end gun violence and was launched after the Parkland school shooting, praised the bill in a statement on Tuesday saying: "When this bill passes, it will be the first substantial piece of federal gun safety legislation to become law in our lifetime. That’s worth celebrating."