Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Rand Paul were among the majority of Republicans who voted against the first gun bill to pass the Senate in more than two decades, despite the fact that 15 Republicans, whose Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, voted to pass it.
A total of 33 Republicans voted against the legislation despite Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina negotiating the legislation with Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota did not vote.
The legislation comes a month after a white supremacist allegedly opened fire and killed 10 people and less than a month after a gunman opened fire and killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School. In the days following the shooting, Mr McConnell tasked Mr Cornyn of Texas to negotiate the legislation, with Mr Tillis later joining.
Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama was among the senators who opposed the legislation.
“Well, I’m a Second Amendment guy. I wish if we just dealt with mental health and privacy issues and put in a sunset, maybe a five-year plan, but that’s not what happened,” he said. he declares. The Independent.
Although fellow Texan Mr. Cornyn was one of the main negotiators for the legislation, Mr. Cruz gave a lengthy speech expressing his opposition to the legislation.
“When you disarm law-abiding citizens, what happens is the law-abiding people disarming,” he said. “It’s almost by definition if they’re law-abiding citizens. But criminals do not respect the law.
Alongside Mr. McConnell and negotiators, Republican Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska , Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Todd Young of Indiana all voted in favour.
Mr Toomey – who, along with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, had tried to push through the last major gun control law after the failed Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 – said he was glad it’s part of his legacy as he retires at the end of the year.
“You know, my goal has always been to require background checks on commercial sales,” he said. “It doesn’t do exactly what Joe Manchin and I planned to do a while ago, but it expands the background check to certain categories of commercial sales. And I think it’s constructive. It contains other elements that I think are constructive and above all.
Prior to the vote, the National Rifle Association announced its opposition to the legislation.
“This is a gun control bill. That’s why the NRA opposes it. End of story,” he tweeted.
The legislation creates an enhanced review process for people under 21 looking to buy a firearm to undergo a thorough review of their juvenile and mental health records. It also sets out a program for states to pass extreme risk protection order laws — also known as “red flag laws” — that restrain people who may pose a risk to themselves or others. to get a gun.
Indiana Sen. Mike Braun opposed the legislation and said Indiana has already passed a red flag law and measures to make schools safer.
“So I think most of that could have been done by the states probably,” he said. “And we in Indiana, in particular, have had a red flag law for probably 17 or 18 years.”
Additionally, people who commit ‘straw buying’ – where someone who can pass a background check buys a gun for someone who couldn’t – could be fined, up to 15 years in prison. or both. This sentence could be increased to 25 years if the weapon is used in an act of terrorism or drug trafficking.
The bill also removes the “boyfriend loophole” – which allowed people who had committed domestic violence against a romantic partner but who did not live, marry or have children with their partner to get a gun.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already indicated she will move quickly to pass the legislation.
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