House takes up Senate-passed bipartisan gun legislation

The House on Friday is expected to vote on the bipartisan gun legislation that the Senate overwhelmingly approved Thursday night. Should it pass the House as expected, it will be the most significant new gun legislation in decades. 

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which imposes a more lengthy background check process for gun buyers under 21, funds mental health needs and closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to prevent convicted domestic abusers from purchasing a firearm for five years. 

The Senate passed the bill 65-33, with 15 Republicans voting for the measure. Republican Senator Tom Cotton did not vote, and neither did Republican Senator Kevin Cramer, who is in North Dakota recovering from a serious hand injury. All of the Democratic senators voted for the bill. 

The House is expected to begin procedural votes on the bill Friday morning, and vote on final passage early Friday afternoon. Broad support is expected from the Democrats. House Republican leaders do not support it, and they’re actively encouraging GOP members to vote against the legislation, but some are still expected to vote for it. One of the Republicans expected to approve the bill is Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, where a gunman last month killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school. 

Soon after the Uvalde shooting, bipartisan Senate negotiators began talk to hammer out legislation to respond to mass shootings. They released a framework of the proposal earlier this month, and unveiled the legislation Tuesday.

More support may also come from a handful of Republicans who supported various pieces of House Democrats’ Protecting Our Kids Act, the much more robust gun control bill that passed the House June 8, but would not have garnered enough support in the Senate. 

After the Senate passed the gun bill Thursday, President Biden called on the House to act quickly.

“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,” Mr. Biden said upon Senate passage of the legislation Thursday. “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.”

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