US Congress passes rare bipartisan gun legislation

Published on Jun 25, 2022 12:37 AM IST

The Congressional push comes even as US Supreme Court limited the right of states to restrict people from carrying guns in public without special permit, striking down a New York law.

A girl lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (AFP)
A girl lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (AFP)

WASHINGTON: In a rare political and legislative breakthrough, sparked by a surge in mass shootings across the country, the United States Congress, on a broadly bipartisan basis, passed a set of limited gun control measures on Friday.

The Congressional push comes even as US Supreme Court limited the right of states to restrict people from carrying guns in public without special permit, striking down a New York law.

But even as the conservative-dominated judiciary adopted an expansive definition of the Second Amendment, recent shootings - particularly a hate crime in Buffalo that killed ten people and a school shooting in Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers - have trigger public concerns about the availability of guns. This has forced even the Republicans, the most ardent advocates of the right to bear arms, to agree to a set of limited measures.

Fifteen Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues to pass the legislation on Thursday night. The House of Representatives pushed through the legislation on Friday.

These measures will enhance background checks for potential gun buyers under 21 empowering authorities to examine their juvenile and mental health records; enhance funding for states to implement laws that allow for the confiscation of guns from people deemed dangerous; and closes what is referred to as the “boyfriend loop” with a ban on domestic abusers from purchasing arms. The package also includes increased funding for mental health programmes and school security.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill soon. In a statement on Thursday evening, “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.”

He added that legislation will help protect Americans, and children in schools and communities will be safer because of it.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times. He is also the editor of HT Premium. Jha has earlier served as editor-views and national political editor/bureau chief of the paper. He is the author of How the BJP Wins: Inside India's Greatest Election Machine and Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal.

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