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The Senate passed a bipartisan gun reform bill on Thursday in the wake of a slew of mass shootings in recent months, the most notable of which left 19 children and two teachers dead in Uvalde, Texas, in late May.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, negotiated by a group of senators led by John Cornyn (R-TX) and Chris Murphy (R-CT), looks to incentivize states to implement red flag laws. The proposal would make it easier for law enforcement to confiscate a firearm and block the purchase of a gun if an individual is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, tighten background checks, close the so-called boyfriend loophole by tightening background checks on gun purchases of those convicted of domestic violence or certain crimes as minors, and provide money for trauma support, school safety, and mental health programs.

The legislation passed 65-33 and also includes language to strengthen background checks on individuals under 21 looking to purchase a gun and crack down on straw purchases by implementing stronger penalties.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted in favor of the measure, which has received pushback from conservatives in the House who argue that its language pertaining to red flag laws could violate due process rights.

Proponents of the measure argue that the Uvalde shooting, a supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 dead, and a hospital shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that left four dead are signals that Congress needs to take action to curb gun violence.

“This is the sweet spot, madam president — making America safer, especially for kids in school without making our country one bit less free. The legislation before us would make our communities and schools safer without laying one finger on the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens,” McConnell said on the floor. “Its key provisions are hugely popular with the American people.”

Democrats hoped for a broader package similar to the one that passed the House along party lines, which included language to ban assault weapons. Lawmakers praised its passage as the most substantial of its kind in recent history, noting the difficulties parties have had in reaching an agreement on the issue in the past.


“For too long, political games in Washington on both sides of the aisle have stopped progress towards protecting our communities and keeping families safe and secure,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the floor ahead of the vote. “Commonsense proposals have been tossed to the side, bipartisan lawmakers choosing politics instead of solutions. Elected officials have made a habit of insulting one another for offering thoughts and prayers, for blaming violence on strictly mental illness or video games, for particular kinds of weapons or any cause that didn’t align with and confirm their own predetermined beliefs.”

While House GOP leaders are whipping against the measure, it is expected to pass the House before Congress breaks for its Fourth of July recess.