US Senate passes rare bipartisan gun control legislation

The US Senate has passed a rare bipartisan package of gun safety legislation, sending it to the House of Representatives for further approval.Sky News breaking

The bill, seen as the first significant gun control legislation to pass in three decades, was passed by 65 votes to 33.

Fifteen Republican senators joined all 50 Democrats in voting for the bill.

The measures include tougher background checks for younger would-be gun owners, measures to keep guns away from more domestic violence offenders, and red flag laws that will make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people judged to be dangerous.

The $13bn package will also fund programmes about school safety, mental health, and violence prevention.

But compromise could not be reached on broader measures, such as banning assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazine, and so these have been left out of the legislation.

It comes after a number of recent mass shootings, including one at a school in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers; and one at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, which left 10 people dead.

They were among more than 20,800 people who have been killed in gun violence in the US this year, including through homicide and suicide, according to non-profit research group Gun Violence Archive.

Before the vote, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “This is not a cure-all for the ways gun violence affects our nation, but it is a long overdue step in the right direction”.

The bill is expected to pass in the Democrat-controlled House, before it is signed into law by US President Joe Biden.

Mr Biden said on Thursday night that “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.

“Families in Uvalde and Buffalo – and too many tragic shootings before – have demanded action. “And tonight, we acted.

“This bipartisan legislation will help protect Americans. Kids in schools and communities will be safer because of it.

“The House of Representatives should promptly vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk.”

Also on Thursday, the US Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to carry handguns in public for self defence, highlighting the deep divide over the issue.

The court’s conservative majority struck down New York state’s limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home, ruling that it violated a person’s right to “keep and bear arms”, under the US Constitution’s Second Amendment.

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