Washington, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- Only hours after announcing a 20-member gang of Democrat and Republican senators had overcome some obstacles and released the text of their “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” the U.S. Senate took action on a gun control measure that was immediately condemned by the National Rifle Association.
Senators were in such a hurry to move the bill they voted quickly 64-34 to begin debate almost immediately after the 80-page bill language was released. The Associated Press is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a perennial anti-gunner, is predicting quick passage this week, after which the measure will go to the Democrat-controlled House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to fast-track the bill to passage and send it to Joe Biden’s desk.
In a late opposition statement, the NRA said, “we will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level.”
“It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners,” NRA said. “This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.”
On the other hand, John Feinblatt, president of anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, threw his weight behind the legislation. The Washington Post quoted Feinblatt declaring the nation is “one big step closer to breaking the 26-year logjam that has blocked Congressional action to protect Americans from gun violence.”
Senators are in a hurry to complete this process before the July 4th, 2022 recess begins.
So-Called Boyfriend Loophole
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said the measure does not include a national “red flag” law. That is up to the states, he said.
“One of the things we agreed upon,” he added, “is that they have to have robust due process protections.”
Due process has been an area of major concern among Second Amendment advocates. They see such laws as open to abuse.
There is a provision in the bill, Cornyn said, that will allow someone convicted of non-spousal misdemeanor domestic abuse to “have an opportunity after five years to have their Second Amendment rights restored. But they have to have a clean record.”
As explained by the Associated Press, “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.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) insisted the legislation will save lives, an argument used in the past by gun control proponents to support whatever gun control legislation was being pushed at the time.
The bill makes a significant contribution to mental health, Murphy said, with money for support programs for both adults and school-age children.
Both Murphy and Cornyn portrayed the legislation as a “compromise” during remarks on the Senate floor.
Among the highlights:
- “Red Flag” money grants to all states, …even if they do not adopt such laws.
- So-called “enhanced background checks” for young adults ages 18-21, with three business days to conduct the checks and allowing up to 10 days if there is “cause for further investigation.
- Language is added to prevent straw purchases, making it illegal to buy a gun for another person they know or have reason to believe “intends to use, carry, possess, or sell or otherwise dispose of the firearm in furtherance of a felony, a Federal crime of terrorism, or a drug trafficking crime; or intends to sell or otherwise dispose of the firearm to a person” who is disqualified.
“I know this bill is not going to please everyone,” Cornyn acknowledged.
While this legislation is ostensibly about protecting children and communities, there are mentions of racketeering and money laundering and it adds a definition of “dating relationship” that “means a relationship between individuals who have or have recently had a continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”
The bill also calls for the establishment of a “Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Evidence-based Practices” within the Department of Homeland Security.
The Washington Post quoted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who called the bill “a commonsense package of popular steps that will help make these horrifying incidents less likely while fully upholding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The final language, as noted by the Associated Press, “lacks far more potent proposals” supported by Biden and Capitol Hill Democrats. These include a ban on so-called “assault-style weapons” and raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 in order to purchase modern semi-auto rifles. There is also no language banning so-called “high-capacity” ammunition magazines or mandating so-called “universal background checks” on all gun transactions.
Democrats need the votes of at least ten Republicans to hit the magic 60-vote mark in order for the bill to pass.
2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Text
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