The House of Representatives on June 24 voted to pass a controversial Senate-passed gun omnibus package, sending the package to President Joe Biden’s desk, where it is likely to win his approval.
The 234-193 vote was mostly along party lines, save for a handful of Republicans breaking with the rest of their party.
On the GOP side, Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) were among 14 Republicans who joined Democrats in supporting the package.
The legislation, which was proposed in the wake of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead, has received mixed reactions on Capitol Hill.
Some provisions have broad bipartisan support.
For example, the bill would allocate $15 billion to mental health care access and increasing school security, a measure that was particularly popular among Republicans. To offset these costs, the bill delays the implementation of a Medicare drug rebate program that proponents say will save the federal government $21 billion.
However, included provisions that would close the so-called boyfriend loophole, incentivize states to adopt red-flag laws, and boost background check requirements have sparked concern.
Red flag laws, which enable courts to strip people of their constitutional right to own a gun based on an anonymous tip regarding the accused’s mental health, have been a rallying cry for Second Amendment advocates for some time.
Often, the accused are not given any notification of an accusation or any chance to defend themselves against the charges until after their weapons have been confiscated.
Referencing a recent decision by the Supreme Court that overturned a restrictive New York State gun law, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) said that the court had reaffirmed that “the Constitution means what it says.”
The current bill, Bishop said, “flouts the new decision before the ink is dry.”
“The renewed assault on the second amendment is more than sufficient grounds to oppose this bill, but even the constitutionally permissible components repeat the terrible misjudgment that has afflicted this type of legislation for far too long. You’re not grappling with the [underlying] issues: 60 years of destruction of American culture by the secular and postmodernist left.”
Foremost among these attacks, Bishop said, was the destruction of the traditional nuclear family.
The bill, Bishop continued, would “separate the family further by building a massive mental health bureaucracy into the public school system.”
This new mental health system, Bishop said, really means “beyond the reach of parents and the reach of common sense.”
Republican senators, Bishop said, are as much at fault “for the delivery of your children to a double-down on woke” as Democrats.
“Washington has yet to recognize that it is the author of the devastation we confront,” Bishop said, “and Washington is still failing to grapple with the core issue.”
“This bill is at the same time an attack on constitutional rights and a dangerous, poorly thought out ill-defined improvisation,” Bishop concluded. “Wringing your hands and doing something instead of the right thing will continue having the same result it has had since the 60s. Show that honesty and courage do not reside only in the Supreme Court building across the street: defeat this bill.”
The bill was approved in the Senate just hours earlier in a late-night vote.
The final Senate floor vote on the 80-page legislation, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, was 65–33. The vote had been expected to be held before a two-week July 4 recess. Earlier in the day, 15 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to break the 60-vote filibuster threshold on the measure.
Fifteen Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for the legislation. See how each senator voted here.
Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) support the bill.
Earlier this week, McConnell called the measure a “commonsense package” and rejected the concerns of Republican members who oppose the legislation on constitutional grounds. He also said the measure will “protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Schumer hailed the move while suggesting more needs to be done.
“We are passing the first significant gun safety bill in nearly 30 years,” Schumer on Thursday said on the Senate floor.
“I’m pleased this moment has come and we are taking meaningful action to keep our communities safe. I hope it paves the way for future action on guns in Congress and at all levels of government. As I said, this is not a cure-all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation, but it is a long-overdue step in the right direction.”
Following the passage of the bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a tweet, “On behalf of the House, we applaud the Senate for passing its gun violence prevention package on a strong bipartisan vote.”
“Every day, gun violence steals lives and scars communities—and this crisis demands urgent action. While we must do more, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a step forward that will help protect our children and save lives,” she added.
Mimi Nguyen contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times