WASHINGTON, June 24 (KUNA) -- The US Senate late Thursday passed a bipartisan bill to address gun violence that amounts to the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades.
The final vote was 65 to 33 with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in support of the measure, marking a significant bipartisan breakthrough on one of the most contentious policy issues in the country.
The bill will next go to the House for a vote before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
The bipartisan gun deal includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
It also makes significant changes to the process when someone aged 18 to 21 goes to buy a firearm and closes the so-called boyfriend loophole.
The package amounts to the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year assault weapons ban of 1994 -- though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.
Commenting on the move, President Biden said: "Tonight, 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."
"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," he added. (end)