U.S. Senate reaches bipartisan compromise on gun safety bill
Updated: 2022-06-23 06:06:18 KST
The U.S. Senate took the initial step on Tuesday to advance a newly finalized bipartisan gun safety bill.
The 80-page package, titled the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, was prompted in particular by two horrific mass shootings in Texas and New York.
If passed, the bill would be the most significant gun control law in 29 years since the now-expired assault rifle ban in 1993.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he expects the bill to pass this week, while Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democrat bargainer, highlighted its significance.
"I believe that this week we will pass legislation that will become the most significant piece of anti-gun violence legislation Congress will have passed in 30 years. This is a breakthrough. And more importantly, it's a bipartisan breakthrough."
The legislation would toughen background checks for gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21.
It also includes provisions that would help states keep guns out of the hands of those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, and creates new federal statutes against gun trafficking.
The bill also closes the so-called "boyfriend loophole," by blocking gun sales to those convicted of abusing intimate partners they're not married to.
Gun ownership is already banned for convicted abusers who are married to, live with, or have had children with their victims.
The legislation would further increase funding for states and communities to improve school safety and for mental health initiatives.
Aides estimated the measure would cost around 15 billion U.S. dollars.
This bill, however, does not include proposals that Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have been unsuccessfully pushing for years, which include banning assault-type weapons or requiring background checks for virtually all gun sales.
The measure still has a number of hurdles to clear.
In the Senate, the legislation will first need to break a filibuster, which requires 60 votes to advance, and means that at least 10 Republicans will need to join Democrats in support.
The bill would go on to a final vote if senators can successfully break a filibuster, and the bill would need to be taken up by the House.
Jeong Eun-joo, Arirang News.