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Senate passes bipartisan gun reform bill



(WGHP) — The Senate passed a bipartisan gun reform bill in a 65-53 vote on Thursday night.

The passage of the bill moves Congress’ boldest gun violence prevention legislation in decades to the brink of final approval.

The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and beef up penalties on gun traffickers. It also would disburse money to states and communities to improve school safety and mental health initiatives.

The legislation would also prevent people convicted of domestic abuse, but are not married to their partners, from owning a firearm.

Aides told The Associated Press the move would cost $15 billion.

If the bill passes in Congress, it will pass on to President’s Biden desk.

He is expected to sign it.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis was one of a small group of Senators – along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) – who assembled about three weeks ago to negotiate what is billed as the first piece of significant gun legislation – called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – in decades to receive approval in the Senate.

Mass shootings at Virginia Tech, at Aurora, Colorado, at Newtown, Connecticut, at Parkland, Florida, at Fort Hood, Texas, at Orlando, at Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, and at Pittsburgh, just last month – or all the other mass shootings in the U.S. – didn’t do it.

But just a month after 21 were killed and 17 were wounded at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, while law enforcement waited in the hall, the Senate responded with legislation. This bill is not as broad as a bill passed by the House on June 8, but it’s forward motion that Tillis says he plans to see to conclusion.

In Uvalde the shooter was an 18-year-old armed with an AR-15 assault rifle. He had a history of difficulties. Tillis’ bill is focused on mental health and securing schools much more than it is on restricting access to weapons and banning any weapons.

Tillis, who speaks of his long record of supporting gun rights under the Second Amendment, is said to be the principal author of this 80-page bill.

During a Zoom press conference on Wednesday, he walked through the elements he considered keys but declined to speak about any ideas that he liked that were excluded.



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