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The US passes the first major gun law in decades

#passes #major #gun #law #decades

U.S. lawmakers on Friday broke a decades-long deadlock on gun control and passed the first major safety legislation in nearly 30 years, less than 24 hours after the Supreme Court strengthened the right to bear arms.

Gun regulation is a touchstone issue for both conservatives and liberals in the United States that has consumed national politics amid multiple mass shootings in recent years.

The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted to approve a bipartisan Senate gun bill that, though modest, marks the first major firearms regulation statute since 1994.

Fourteen Republicans defied their leader, Kevin McCarthy, to cross the aisle and approve the 80-page package, which advanced late Thursday with bipartisan support from the evenly divided upper chamber.

That vote came hours after the conservative majority of the Supreme Court struck down a centuries-old New York law requiring concealed-carry permits for handguns.

Gun legislation includes improved background checks for younger buyers and federal funding for states introducing “red flag” laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from people deemed a threat.

Billions of dollars have been allocated to crack down on “straw buyers” who buy firearms for people who aren’t allowed to have them and to curb the gun trade.

– ‘Long-awaited triumph’ –

The deeply divisive issue of gun control was reignited by two May massacres in which 10 black supermarket shoppers were gunned down in upstate New York and 21 people, mostly young children, were murdered at a school in Texas.

The Supreme Court had voted in line with party lines, with the six Republican candidates in favor of strengthening the constitutional right to bear arms and the three Democratic candidates against.

The verdict was welcomed by gun rights activists but took the shine off what was supposed to be a day of celebration for gun control activists.

Liberals had hailed the congressional action despite disappointment at the limited scope of the legislation, which does not include universal background checks and does not ban semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity magazines.

“This decision will not stop our grassroots army from doing what we have been doing for a decade: fighting to keep our families safe,” added Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts after the Supreme Court ruling was announced had been.

“As we break the deadlock in Congress, we will work day in and day out to mitigate the fallout in New York and all other states affected by this decision, and to elect final legislatures up and down the vote.”

Eric Tirschwell, chief litigation counsel at legal nonprofit Everytown Law, said the Supreme Court misapplied basic constitutional principles, adding the group is “ready to go to court” to defend restrictions.

Top Republicans celebrated the court’s decision.

“Not only is this a long-awaited triumph for legal gun owners across America, it is a victory for all citizens and for our constitutional order itself,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McCarthy hailed the ruling as a victory that “lawfully upholds the right of all law-abiding Americans to defend themselves without unnecessary government interference.”

“The decision comes at an important time — as the Senate considers legislation that undermines Second Amendment freedom,” Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said in a statement.

“This decision clearly confirms the position of NRAs and should alert legislators: no law should be passed that interferes with this individual freedom.”

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