Friday August 19, 2022

US Congress passes first major gun safety law

June 25, 2022

WASHINGTON: US lawmakers erupted in applause on Friday as they passed a bipartisan bill that amounted to the most significant firearms regulation in nearly 30 years in a country convulsed by daily mass shootings.

The House of Representatives rubber-stamped a Senate-passed package of new gun controls and billions of dollars in mental health and school security funding, in a 234-193 vote.Gun regulation is a touchstone issue for both conservatives and liberals in the United States that has consumed national politics amid multiple mass shootings in recent years.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted to rubber-stamp a bipartisan Senate gun bill that -- while modest -- amounts to the first significant piece of legislation to regulate firearms since 1994.

Fourteen Republicans defied their leader Kevin McCarthy to cross the aisle and approve the 80-page package, which advanced from the evenly-divided upper chamber with cross-party backing late Thursday.

That vote came hours after the Supreme Court's conservative majority had struck down a century-old New York law requiring permits for concealed-carry handguns. The gun legislation includes enhanced background checks for younger buyers and federal cash for states introducing "red flag" laws that allow courts to temporarily remove weapons from those considered a threat.

Billions of dollars have been allocated to crack down on "straw purchasers" who buy firearms for people who are not allowed them and to curb gun trafficking. The deeply-divisive issue of gun control was reignited by two massacres in May that saw 10 Black supermarket shoppers gunned down in upstate New York and 21 people, mostly young children, slain at a school in Texas.

The Supreme court had voted along party lines, with the six Republican appointees in favor of bolstering the constitutional right to bear arms and the three Democratic appointees dissenting.