Fifteen Republicans joined the entire Democratic caucus in advancing a gun-control bill hatched by a bipartisan group of 20 senators. With the biggest hurdle behind the legislation, it should clear the Senate and head to the House in the coming days.
The vote passed the chamber by a 65-34 margin. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among the GOP members voting in favor.
The bill has garnered the opposition of the National Rifle Association. Unlike in the Senate, where leadership was in favor of the compromise, House GOP leadership is whipping members against the measure.
The legislation will include the following:
- Funds for states to implement red flag laws
- Family mental health spending
- Getting rid of the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by including those convicted of domestic abuse in background checks
- Funding for school-based mental health programs
- Funding for school safety resources
- Clarifying the language of a federally licensed firearm dealer
- Investments in telehealth programs
- Implementing a waiting period on gun purchases for those under age 21
- Penalties for straw purchases of firearms
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, spent the last week finalizing details on the bill. One concern he noted was on the boyfriend loophole and clarifying the language on domestic relationships.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he hopes to have a final vote on the legislation by the end of the week. The bill then would go to the House where only a simple majority is needed for passage.
While mental health has become a key component of gun control talks, mental health experts have advised the public not to associate mass shootings with mental health issues automatically.
"Attempts to connect mental illness to mass shootings are a distraction that inflicts enormous damage by taking attention from solutions that could actually prevent such events," a group of mental health organizations wrote. "This perpetuates a false narrative that encourages stigmatization of and discrimination against the millions of Americans living with mental health conditions who are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it."