Senate votes to advance bipartisan gun safety bill

The agreement effectively means the Senate will have the 10 Republican votes and 50 Democrat votes to pass the bill

Published: June 21, 2022 4:07pm

Updated: June 21, 2022 10:40pm

The Senate voted Tuesday to proceed with a federal gun safety bill that will tighten loopholes in existing federal law and allocate billions of dollars toward mass-shooting prevention.

Hours after bipartisan negotiators came to an agreement on Tuesday, they released the full text of the bill, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, at about 7 p.m. on Capitol Hill.

The Senators voted 64-34 later in the evening to create the legislative vehicle needed to allow for a final vote before the chamber's July 4 recess Friday.

Republicans who voted in favor of the measure include Sens. Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Joni Ernst, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney, Thom Tillis, Todd Young and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate Press Gallery reported.

GOP Sens. Pat Toomey and Kevn Cramer did not vote.

Negotiations follow two mass shootings in May in which a total of 31 people were killed, including 19 children inside a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school. 

"Today, we finalized bipartisan, commonsense legislation to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country," top negotiators Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C. said in a joint statement.

Click HERE to see text of the 80-page gun bill. 

Though steadfast about not voting in favor of any measure that would limit Second Amendment rights, Republicans were brought to the negotiations by Americans' pleas for lawmakers to help stop gun violence, ending decades of bipartisan gridlock on the issue.

The bill does not include measures to ban assault weapons or restrict magazine capacity but will close the so-called "boyfriend loophole."

The law would prohibit a misdemeanor domestic violence offender with a "current or recent former dating relationship with the victim" from purchasing or owning a firearm. 

The definition of a "dating relationship" will be determined by the court, and offenders will automatically regain their ability to buy and own guns after five years if they do not commit any disqualifying offenses.

It also includes an "enhanced review process" for young gun buyers that includes an investigative period to examine juvenile and mental health records before buyers under 21 could purchase a firearm. The gunmen in the attacks last month were both 18 years old. 

The bill also provides an additional $750 million in funding for state "crisis intervention programs," which include red-flag laws, drug courts, and veterans' courts.

While people under the age of 21 will still be allowed to purchase rifles and shotguns, senators created a three-business-day window for an "enhanced search" that will allow authorities to comb confidential databases before allowing someone under 21 to buy a gun.

The "enhanced search" option will expire after 10 years. 

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

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