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24th Jun 2022

First gun control bill in decades passed after multiple mass shootings in US

Ellen Fitzpatrick

It’s history-making.

The US Senate has passed a new gun control bill, making it the most significant legislation in firearms in almost 30 years.

The new law imposes tougher checks on young buyers and is encouraging states to remove guns from those who are deemed a threat.

In a rare bipartisan breakthrough on these measures, 5 Republicans joined Democrats in the Senate to approve the bill.

This still needs to be endorsed by the lower house before it is signed into law by President Joe Biden.

A vote in the House of Representatives is expected to be soon.

Biden has urged a quick vote “on this bipartisan bill” despite having it fall short of his demands and gun control activists and most Democrats are also looking to see stricter measures made on gun control.

“Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” Biden said.

The bill comes after two mass shootings last month, one in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York and in a elementary school in Uvalde, Texas which saw 31 people in total die.

This new bill includes stricter background checks for buyers younger than 21, $15bn in federal funding for mental health programs and school security upgrades, funding to encourage states to implement “red flag” laws which will remove guns from those seen as a threat and closing the “boyfriend loophole” by blocking gun sales to those convicted of abusing their partners.

Biden has been pushing for even stricter reforms, which include a ban on assault weapons like the ones used in the two recent shootings, or increasing the age they can be purchased.

This bill is the first in decades that has support from both Democrats and Republicans, as usually gun laws are blocked by the Republican party.

This bill saw a 65-33 vote in the 100 member Senate, with all 50 Democrats voting for the bill.

March For Our Lives, the gun safety group that was founded by survivors of the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida welcomed the bill, tweeting: “We know there’s A LOT more work to be done to end this epidemic. But a lot of hard work got us to tonight. We refuse to quit or be silenced. Ending gun violence is the fight of our lifetime.”