Lawmakers released the 80-page bill nine days after agreeing to a framework for the plan and 29 years after Congress last enacted major firearms curbs. It cleared an initial procedural hurdle by 64-34, with 14 Republicans joining all 48 Democrats and two allied independents in voting yes. That strongly supported a prediction by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of approval later this week. Passage by the Democratic-led House could follow quickly.
The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and beef up penalties on gun traffickers. It also would disburse money to states and communities to improve school safety and mental health initiatives.
Aides estimated the measure would cost around $15 billion, which Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the lead Democratic bargainer, said would be fully paid for.
Resolving one final hurdle that delayed the accord, the bill would prohibit romantic partners convicted of domestic violence and not married to their victims from getting firearms. Convicted abusers who are married to, live with or had children with their victims are already barred from having guns.
The compromise prohibits guns for a person who has “a current or recent former dating relationship with the victim.’’ That is defined in part as one between people ”who have or have recently had a continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” An offender’s ability to own a gun could be restored after five years if they’ve not committed another serious crime.
On another late dispute, the bill would provide $750 million to the 19 states and the District of Columbia that have “red flag” laws making it easier to temporarily take firearms from people adjudged dangerous, and to other states with violence prevention programs. States with “red flag” laws that receive the funds would have to have legal processes for the gun owner to fight the firearm’s removal.
Politically, the Republicans are looking at a wave election in their favor thanks to the disastrous rule of Democrats. So what do they do? They give Democrats a political win that will resonate with their base and piss off the Republican base. Every time the Republicans give Democrats a win, it is not reciprocated. The Democrats don’t even give Republicans rhetorical credit. The Democrats will announce this as “we would have done more if it weren’t for those evil Republicans, but at least we did something.” Meanwhile, there is zero momentum for this in the Republican base. All it will do is disillusion pro-2nd Amendment people. Maybe they actively fight against Republicans. Maybe they just sit home in swing districts. Either way, the Republicans have blunted their electoral prospects in November.
On our civil rights, there are pieces of this bill that are a clear retardation of those rights. There was a time when I naively supported red flag laws. There should be a way to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally or morally incapacitated. The same should be true for voting, holding elected office, and a number of other things. The problem is deciding who decides? Given the totalitarian inclinations we saw from our government leaders during COVID and recent presidential administrations, I do not want anyone in the government deciding that. Does it mean that some people will get their hands on a gun (or vote) who shouldn’t? Yes. But that is preferable to handing the government the tools to disarm (or disenfranchise) the citizenry.