Updated Jun 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Congress sends bipartisan gun safety bill to Biden's desk

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delivers remarks as she joins fellow Democrats for a rally before voting on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in outside the U.S. Capitol on June 24, 2022.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delivers remarks before voting on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act on June 24. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The most significant federal gun legislation in nearly three decades is one step closer to becoming law after the House passed the gun safety bill in a bipartisan vote on Friday.

Driving the news: The House approved the measure in a 234-193 vote, with 14 Republicans joining Democrats in favor. The measure now heads to President Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday before the House vote: "As I say to members all the time with legislation, do not judge it for what isn’t in it. But respect it for what is. And there’s much to be respected in this legislation."
  • "To those who lacked the courage to join in this work, I say your political survival is insignificant compared to the survival of our children," she said.
  • Many House Republicans announced their opposition to the measure, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who urged his GOP colleagues to vote against it.

The big picture: The Senate on Thursday passed the measure in a 65-33 vote, with 15 Republicans joining Democrats to vote in favor.

  • The bill, called the "Bipartisan Safer Communities Act," includes enhanced background checks and clarification on the "boyfriend loophole," which prevents domestic abusers from purchasing guns, unmarried or not, Axios' Alayna Treene and Jacob Knutson report.
  • It also includes increased funding for mental health and school safety and incentives for states to implement "red flag" laws.
  • A bipartisan group of senators drafted the legislation in response to multiple mass shootings last month, including one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers and another that killed 10 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
  • The bill was hung up last week as the "core four" senators involved in drafting the bill struggled to strike a compromise over the red flag provision and the "boyfriend loophole."

State of play: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who voted to pass the bill, was crucial in shoring up Republican support to break the 60-vote filibuster.

  • McConnell earlier this week called the bill "a common-sense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens."

What they're saying: Biden said in an emailed statement after the Senate passed the measure that "after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities."

  • "Families in Uvalde and Buffalo — and too many tragic shootings before — have demanded action.  And tonight, we acted," he added.
  • "This bipartisan legislation will help protect Americans. Kids in schools and communities will be safer because of it. The House of Representatives should promptly vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk."

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