The US Senate voted to tighten gun laws slightly after two devastating gun shootings last month. The bill passed the Chamber of Congress on Thursday with a clear majority of 65 votes in favor to 33 against. In addition to President Joe Biden’s 50 Democratic senators, 15 opposition Republican senators also voted in favor of the text.
The bill now has to pass the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by President Joe Biden. It is the first federal tightening of US gun laws in almost 30 years.
Among other things, the text provides for extended background checks on gun buyers under the age of 21. In addition, financial incentives are to be created for the individual states to temporarily remove the guns from potentially dangerous gun owners. Billions are also planned for safety in schools and better psychiatric care in the country.
The Democrats wanted to decide on further measures. However, they encountered resistance from the conservative Republicans, who have a blocking minority in the Senate. In view of the political polarization in the USA, the fact that both parties were able to agree on a legal text on gun law is already a success. Republicans have been fighting gun restrictions for decades.
Two serious attacks in May sparked renewed debate in the United States about tightening gun laws. First, in the state of New York, an 18-year-old shot dead ten people in front of and in a supermarket with an assault rifle, apparently for racist reasons. At an elementary school in the small Texas town of Uvalde, an 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers.
The Senate vote for stricter gun laws came just on the day that the country’s Supreme Court strengthened the rights of gun owners: The Supreme Court in Washington classified the carrying of firearms in public with a vote of six to three judges as a fundamental right .