Congress is about to pass a $13bn (£10.59bn) bipartisan gun violence bill that seemed unimaginable a month ago.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation on Friday that would be the most sweeping response by US politicians in decades to brutal mass shootings.

The vote comes exactly one month after a gunman massacred 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Just days before that, a white man motivated by racism allegedly killed 10 black grocery shoppers in Buffalo, New York.

The two killings, days apart and victimizing defenseless people for whom the public immediately empathized, led both the Democratic and Republican parties to conclude that Congress had to act, especially in an election year.

After weeks of behind-closed-door talks, Senate negotiators from both parties reached a compromise by taking small but impactful steps to make such chaos less likely.

“Families in Uvalde and Buffalo, and too many tragic shootings before, have demanded action. And tonight, we act,” President Joe Biden said after the approval. He said the House should send it to him quickly, adding: “Children in schools and communities will be safer because of this.”

The legislation would toughen background checks for younger gun buyers, bar more domestic violence offenders from accessing firearms, and help states implement flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take guns from people deemed dangerous. . It would also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.

The Senate approved the measure Thursday 65-33. Fifteen Republicans, a remarkably high number for a party that has derailed gun restrictions for years, joined 50 Democrats, including their two independent allies, in passing the bill.

Still, that meant less than a third of Republican senators backed the measure. And with House Republicans expected to be strongly opposed, the fate of future congressional action on guns seems in doubt, even as the GOP is expected to win control of the House and possibly the Senate in the election. of November.

Top House Republicans urged a “no” vote in an email from No. 2 Republican leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana. He called the bill “an effort to slowly undermine the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

While the bill was notable for its contrast to years of gridlock in Washington, it falls far short of the tighter gun restrictions that Democrats have sought and Republicans have thwarted for years. They included bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in the killings in Buffalo and Uvalde.

However, the deal allows Senate leaders from both parties to declare victory and show voters that they know how to compromise and make government work, while leaving room for each side to attract their core supporters.

“This is not a panacea for all the ways gun violence affects our nation,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose party has made gun restrictions a goal for decades. “But it’s a long overdue step in the right direction.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a nod to the Second Amendment right to bear arms that drives many conservative voters, said, “The American people want their constitutional rights protected and their children safe in the school”.



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