After decades of legislative inaction on gun control, the United States Senate was unusually quick to approve a text agreed by officials from both parties and published in just 48 hours last Tuesday. Democrats hold 50 of the 100 seats in the Upper House, and they needed the support of 10 Republicans to overcome the parliamentary obstacle of filibustering that makes 60 votes imperative on issues so profound: tightening restrictions on a right-wing untouchable in the United States legislature, guaranteeing the Second Amendment. In the end, senators remained: 65 voted this Thursday night for a law restricting access to guns, breaking nearly 30 years of paralysis. 33 Conservatives spoke (and two were absent).
The norm, far removed from the aspirations of Joe Biden in this respect, certainly more ambitious, arrives on the same day that the Supreme Court has released a ruling saying (with the support of six judges to three) that Law stipulates carrying arms in public in response to allegations by two people. They called for a law to be reviewed that requires those who hold a gun license to show a legitimate reason to carry one.
The Senate has acted on the recent spate of mass shootings, the most tragic manifestations of which were recorded in Buffalo, New York, where an 18-year-old man killed 10 African Americans with an assault rifle fueled by white supremacy theories, and in Uvalde, Texas ), scene of a massacre that ended the lives of 19 elementary school children and two of their teachers at the hands of a boy of the same age, armed with the same type of rifle. It is clear that the Supreme Court, the most conservative in 80 years, is dealing with a different kind of agenda and is not influenced by the social upheaval that these tragedies have caused in the country.
In doing so, the Capitol confuses those who quickly assumed that nothing would change this time either, as had happened after the Sandy Hook (in Newtown, Connecticut, 2012) or Parkland (Florida, 2018) massacres. , to cite just two examples from the notorious history of gun violence in the United States.
Passed by the Senate, the law strengthens background checks when gun buyers are under 21 (and over 18) and calls for a comprehensive review of youth records, including mental health records, beginning at age 16 to find leads against the gun talk sales. It also provides incentives for states to pass “red flag” laws that allow guns to be temporarily confiscated from people a judge deems dangerous. It also increases federal investment in prevention and expands protections for victims of gender-based violence by ending the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” So far, only sexist attackers who were married to their victims have been banned from owning guns.
Subscribe to EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
“Tonight, the United States Senate is doing something many thought impossible just a few weeks ago: advancing the first major gun safety initiative in nearly 30 years,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, after noting the positive vote result . Now the initiative must be approved by the House of Representatives, which is taken for granted as it is taken for granted that Biden will sign the text. The vote in the House of Commons is scheduled to take place this Friday.
One of the most significant signatories on the Republican side is Mitch McConnell, that party’s minority leader. Keep in mind that most of the 15 Conservatives who joined did so because they are not running in elections this year where their voters could penalize them. The gun issue remains a red line for many of these lawmakers.
Days after the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres, President Biden addressed the nation in a dramatically staged speech, urging the Senate to do “something” before releasing his wish list: raising the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21 increase, ban assault rifles and curb high-capacity cartridges.
Learning of the Senate agreement, which falls short of his aspirations, Biden declared, “Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, members of both parties have come together to answer the call from families across the country and have passed legislation to combat Gun violence adopted in our communities. The families of Uvalde and Buffalo and from too many previous tragic shootings have called for action. And tonight we acted.”