The lower house of the US Congress, the house of representatives, on Friday approved the Safer Communities Act that seeks to bring amended laws to control gun violence in the country by a majority of 234 to 193 in the 435 strong house soon after the senate voted the same 65-33 in the 100 strong house to give a thumbs up to the bipartisan committee of 20 legislators (10 republicans and 10 democrats) who toiled day and night to make the legislation a reality. A major victory for the democrats.
The House sent President Joe Biden the most wide-ranging gun violence bill Congress has passed in decades (30 years) on Friday, a measured compromise showing a measure of action on a long-intractable issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that persists, says the Associated Press in a special dispatch following the proceedings in the lower house in Washington.
The chamber led by the democrats approved the election-year legislation on a mostly party-line 234-193 vote, climaxing victory for voters whose ‘ ire and revulsion over last month’s mass shootings in New York and Texas that claimed over 30 innocent lives reached an unprecedented echo in the nation.
The night before, the Senate approved it by a bipartisan 65-33 margin, with 15 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting a package that senators from both parties had crafted.
The bill would incrementally toughen requirements for young people to buy guns, deny firearms from more domestic abusers and help local authorities temporarily take weapons from people judged to be dangerous to themselves and others. The bill comes with a price tag of $13 billion cost that would bolster mental health programs and for schools, which have been targeted in Newtown, Connecticut, Parkland, Florida and many other infamous massacres.
The bill does exclude far tougher restrictions Democrats have long championed, yet it stands as the most impactful gun violence measure that Congress has approved since it enacted a now-expired assault weapons ban nearly 30 years ago. The legislation swiftly followed as action in reaction to the slaying of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, exactly one month ago, and the killing of 10 Black shoppers’ days earlier in Buffalo, New York.
“No legislation can make their families or communities whole,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Democrat from New York, said of those victims. “But we can act to keep others from facing the same trauma.”
For the conservatives, who dominate Republicans in the House, it all came down to the Constitution’s Second Amendment right for people to have firearms, a protection that is key for many voters who own guns. “Today they’re coming after our Second Amendment liberties, and who knows what it will be tomorrow,” said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the Judiciary panel’s top Republican.