The Democrats pushed for new gun restrictions in the wake of the two shooting tragedies in Buffalo New York and Uvalde Texas.
The legislation, expected to have the full support of Democrats in the House, would toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged dangerous. It would also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.
The Senate approved the measure Thursday by 65-33. Fifteen Republicans — a remarkably high number for a party that has derailed gun curbs for years — joined all 50 Democrats, including their two independent allies, in approving the bill.
The Republicans who joined Democrats in voting for the bill were Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Todd Young of Indiana, and Roy Blunt of Missouri.
Still, that meant that fewer than one-third of GOP senators backed the measure. And with Republicans in the House expected to solidly oppose it, the fate of future congressional action on guns seems dubious, even as the GOP is expected to win House and possibly Senate control in the November elections.
Top House Republicans urged a “no” vote in an email from the No. 2 GOP leader, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. He called the bill “an effort to slowly chip away at law-abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.”
GOP senators voting “no” included potential 2024 presidential contenders like Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Cruz said the legislation would “disarm law-abiding citizens rather than take serious measures to protect our children."