14 Senate Republicans Oppose NRA to Promote Bipartisan Gun Bill

Fourteen Senate Republicans opposed the National Rifle Association and other Second Amendment advocates Tuesday to advance bipartisan gun control and school safety legislation.

In a 64-34 vote, the Senate voted to begin debate on an ambitious rewrite of the nation’s gun laws. Although only a simple majority was needed to pass the measure, 14 Republicans led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor.

“Our colleagues have put together a common sense package of popular steps that will help make [mass shooting] least likely incidents, while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Mr. McConnell, R-Kentucky.

Joining Mr. McConnell in voting for the bill were allies of the Republican leadership, including Senators John Cornyn of Texas, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Todd Young of Indiana. Republicans from swing states, including Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, also supported the bill.

Moderate Republicans provided a substantial share of the vote, including West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, Utah’s Mitt Romney, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham.

Completing the group were retired senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Richard Burr of North Carolina.

The number of supporters would probably have been higher had Senator Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, not been absent.

Aside from Murkowski and Young, none of the lawmakers who supported the bill will seek re-election this year.

“The tragedies that have affected too many of our communities deserve our full attention,” said Ms. Capito. “That is why I have encouraged bipartisan discussions… My vote tonight is a vote to continue this critically important debate because it is a debate worth having.”

Gun rights groups don’t see the problem the same way. Before the vote, the NRA and other members of the gun lobby urged Republican lawmakers to oppose the legislation.

“This legislation can be abused to restrict legal gun purchases, infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being taken by state and local politicians,” the NRA said. it’s a statement.

“This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains vague and overly broad provisions, which invite interference with our constitutional freedoms,” the gun rights group said.

Most of the Senate Republican conference seemed to agree.

Overall, 34 Republican senators opposed the bill, arguing that it infringed on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Many also noted that they were not given adequate time to read the bill, let alone vote on it.

“Here we are voting to advance a bill negotiated entirely behind closed doors, published just an hour ago, that no one has had time to read in its entirety, that ignores the national crime wave and undermines the fundamental rights of respectful citizens. of the law. said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri.

The bill, which was negotiated on bipartisan lines, increases funding for school safety and mental health treatment. It also strengthens the background check system for the purchase of weapons by including criminal records of domestic violence and minors.

The proposal also creates a new block grant program to subsidize states that adopt red flag laws, which allow courts to seize firearms from people deemed a threat, or establish other crisis intervention programs.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, is pushing for a final vote on the measure before Congress goes into a two-week recess beginning Friday.

“Tonight, the Senate took the first steps to advance life-saving gun safety legislation in the Senate and we will move toward final passage as soon as possible,” he said. “We are moving quickly to pass the bill in the Senate by the end of the week.”

However, the timeline is uncertain.

Republican opponents are expected to use an arsenal of legislative procedures to delay consideration of the bill.

In the Senate, unanimous consent is needed to expedite a bill’s consideration, which means all 100 senators must agree to go ahead—even one lawmaker can derail the process.

Senate leaders generally negotiate the number of amendments and the time allotted for debate before offering unanimous consent. If even one legislator objects, the process is set aside and the normal order must be followed.

With an objection all but assured, the soonest the Senate could pass the bill is likely to be sometime this weekend.

The bill would then have to reconcile with a House-passed bill that further restricts gun rights, even though House Democratic leaders know their bill would not stand a chance in the Senate.

As a result, the most likely outcome is that the House accepts the Senate bill without further ado.

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