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Senate passes gun control bill — Analysis

In response to recent mass shootings and public outcry over gun control, the US Senate approved legislation that will allow the government’s background check requirements for buyers of firearms.

The ‘Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’ passed the Senate in a 65-33 vote late on Thursday, with 15 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats in the upper chamber to support the bill. 

“This bipartisan legislation will help protect Americans. Kids in schools and communities will be safer because of it,”After the vote, President Joe Biden made a statement urging the House to “take the next step”. “promptly vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk.”

Although the Senate’s version was supported by some Republicans, members of the GOP in the House have asked their party not to support the companion legislation. However, Democrats hold the lower chamber, so they would not require Republican support to pass it.

If signed into law, the legislation would strengthen background checks and allow authorities up to 10 days to review juvenile and mental health records for gun-buyers under the age of 21, as well as devote millions of dollars to encourage state governments to implement ‘red flag laws,’ which permit authorities to confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous. 

The bill also aims to close the so-called ‘boyfriend loophole,’ meaning domestic abusers will be prohibited from purchasing guns even if the perpetrator is not married to their victim. Gun control advocates have long protested the fact that federal law was previously limited to married couples.

Thursday’s vote came on the heels of a major Supreme Court ruling which determined that state governments may not require residents to prove they have a special reason to carry firearms outside of their own property, invalidating long-standing regulations in New York. Biden and his fellow Democrats quickly condemned the decision, while the President dubbed the ruling “deeply” disappointing.

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