The House of Representatives on Friday passed the most sweeping gun control bill in nearly 30 years in a 234 -193 vote as Congress responds to gun violence across the nation.
The legislation garnered some GOP support with 14 House Republicans crossing party lines to vote in favor of the measure, including Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Tom Rice of South Carolina, John Katko of New York, Chris Jacobs of New York, Maria Salazar of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Fred Upton of Michigan, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Steve Chabot of Ohio, Mike Turner of Ohio, David Joyce of Ohio and Tony Gonzales of Texas.
The bill, which will now head to the president’s desk, passed the Senate with a 65-33 vote late Thursday night.
Ten Senate Republicans and 10 Senate Democrats began negotiations on the legislation after two mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas left dozens dead last month within a week of each other.
Though the bill was largely opposed by Republicans in the House, including by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell backed the bill and said it “will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The legislation, which President Biden has already signaled he would immediately sign into law, encourages states to pass red flag laws and expand background checks for 18- to 21-year-olds.
The new soon-to-be law will create incentives for states to release previously sealed juvenile records and could potentially add several days to the waiting period before a gun purchase can be made.
The bill also called for a close to the “boyfriend loophole” that Democrats have been demanding for years by preventing dating partners from obtaining weapons if they are convicted of abuse.
Though the bill is the first gun control measure to pass through Congress in decades, its provisions may not have been enough to stop the previous two mass shootings in Texas or New York.
Both shooters were 18-years-old and legally purchased AR-15 style rifles in the lead-up to their attacks.
Payton Gendron, who has been accused of shooting and killing 10 people and wounding three others in a hate crime motivated attack in Buffalo, had been evaluated for mental health concerns in 2021.
But the incident apparently did not rise to the level of a “red flag” alert.
“Where were the red flags for him to be able to purchase these guns legally?” Erie County, New York, Sheriff John Garcia reportedly questioned after the shooting last month. “In a case like this the gun dealer was able to sell these weapons to this individual because there was no red flags that came up.”
It remains unclear if the newest push to reveal juvenile records could help prevent a similar sale in the future.
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