US Congress Sends Historic Gun Violence Bill to Biden

by Barbara R. Abercrombie
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The United States House of Representatives passed key gun safety legislation for the first time in three decades in the United States and sent it to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign the bill.

The House voted 234-193 in favor of the bill on Friday, a day after a Supreme Court ruling broadly extended gun rights. There were no Democrats against it, while 14 Republicans supported the measure.

“The legislation… encompasses several powerful measures to save lives not only from horrific mass shootings but also from the daily carnage of firearms crime, suicide, and tragic accidents,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during the debate.

Pelosi noted that guns have become the leading “killer of children in America” ​​and said Congress should now move forward and enact more laws on gun sales background checks and restrictions on “high-capacity weaponry.”

Major law enforcement groups supported the law, and its adoption was a rare defeat for US gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) gun lobby group.

House approval of the legislation followed a 65-33 vote in the US Senate late Thursday to approve the bill, with 15 Republicans, including Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, voting in favor.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the legislation contains ‘strong steps to save lives [J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]

Gun control has long been a division in the US, with multiple attempts to introduce new controls on gun sales failing time and again.

The legislation directly resulted from the murder of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, just one month ago and the murder of 10 black shoppers days earlier in Buffalo, New York.

Lawmakers returned from their districts after those shootings, saying voters demanded congressional action.

The bill takes several steps in the field of background checks by providing access for the first time to information about serious crimes committed by minors.

It also tackles gun sales to buyers convicted of domestic violence and provides new federal funding to states enacting “red flag” laws designed to remove guns from people deemed dangerous to themselves and others.

“No legislation can make their families or communities whole,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said of those victims. “But we can act to prevent others from facing the same trauma.”


The gun control group Brady described the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” as “the strongest gun violence prevention law in the past 30 years” and cited the “100 people killed with guns every day” in the United States. Many of these are suicide deaths.

For the conservatives who dominate Republicans in the House, it all came down to the Constitution’s Second Amendment that allowed people to have firearms, a protection essential for many voters who own guns.

“Today they come after our Second Amendment liberties, and who knows what tomorrow will be,” said Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the judicial panel.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court, by a conservative majority of 6-3, lifted New York State’s restrictions on carrying concealed pistols outside the home. The court ruled that the law, enacted in 1913, was unconstitutional.

The country’s most powerful gun lobby, the NRA declared the court’s ruling “a monumental victory” for American gun owners.

On Friday, it attacked the bill passed by Congress, calling it a “pointless” gun control measure that “violates only the rights of the law-abiding.”

The legislation is considered modest for a country with the world’s highest gun ownership per capita and the highest number of mass shootings per year among wealthy nations.

In 2020, the number of firearms deaths in the U.S. rose 35 percent to its highest since 1994, with fatal levels, especially for young black men, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report published May 10.

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