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Exactly 4 weeks after a teenager armed with a semi-automatic rifle massacred 19 elementary school students and two college students in Uvalde, the US Senate voted 64 to 34 on Tuesday night to advance a bipartisan compromise that, if passed, would become the primary primary legislation. on gun safety since 1994.
The legislation does not deny any rights to current gun home owners — a non-starter for Senate Republicans. Instead, it could improve background checks on gun buyers under 21; simplifying the removal of weapons from people who threaten to kill themselves or others, and people who engage in domestic violence; specifying who must register as a federal firearms dealer; and cracking down on illegal gun trafficking, including so-called straw buying, which occurs when the real buyer of a gun enlists another person to execute the documents to be purchased on their behalf .
The bill also includes $11 billion for mental health services and $2 billion for community-based anti-violence programs. It also includes money to help young patients access mental health services through telemedicine, money for additional school-based mental health facilities and support for child abuse helplines. suicide.
Republican John Cornythe senior senator from Texas, who was officially reprimanded by the Texa Republican Partys on Saturday evening for participate in bipartite negotiations, said he was confident senators would see the deal as a low-cost compromise. If that holds, that in itself might be a rare achievement after years of mass shootings devastating American communities with numbing news.
“It’s an issue that divides a lot of the country, depending on where you live, and maybe divides people living in the same household. But I think we’ve found areas where there’s room for compromise and we’ve also found that there are red lines and no middle ground,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor. “We talked, we debated, we disagreed and finally we came to an agreement between the four of us, but obviously it’s not something that’s going to become law or not become law because of a little group of senators. The truth is that we had a larger group of 20 senators, 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, who came together and signed off on a set of agreed upon principles, and I think when the senators see the text that supports those principles, they will see that we’ve done our best to be true to what those agreed-upon principles should be.
The Tuesday evening launch of Bipartisan 80-page Safer Communities Act arrived after 20 senators – with Democrats led by Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Republicans led by Cornyn – to translate a broad framework agreement into particular language. The Senate voted 64 to 34, less than two hours after the final text was released, to put the bill on track to go to the Senate by the end of the week.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky quickly endorsed the textual content of the legislation, while the National Rifle Association immediately opposed it. While gun rights remain an important factor in Republican politics, the RNA itself proved to be politically weaker pressure, partly due to monetary and other scandals.
The Senate vote capped a momentous day as Texas grapples with the aftermath of the May 24 tragedy, with the deadliest university taking pictures in its history. Earlier Tuesday, a Texas Senate committee held a listening marathon in which the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety squarely blamed the Uvalde College Police Chief for what he called inexcusable delay of an hour or more in the fatal confrontation with the shooter. Critics asked whether or not among the 19 students and
2 two academics might have survived had the delay not occurred; a trainer died on the way to the hospital.
Uvalde Colleges Police Chief Pete Arredondo was elected to Uvalde City Council prior to the shooting and had requested a leave of absence from those duties. On Tuesday, the council denied that request. (The college police report to the university council, not the city council.)
Also on Tuesday night, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin accused the Department of Public Safety of selectively leaking transcripts, video footage and other documents to the press to brand local officials inept. .
“Someone chose to release pieces of body camera footage, surveillance footage of their choosing,” the mayor said, “to create chaos in our community and prevent the full truth from coming out.”
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