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Landmark gun-safety bill heads to House after Senate passage

It is the first major gun-control legislation to pass in three decades in a country with the highest gun ownership per capita in the world and the highest number of mass shootings annually among wealthy nations.

A gun control rally for gun legislation is held outside the United States Capitol in Washington
Demonstrators attend a rally of gun violence prevention organisations, gun violence survivors and hundreds of gun safety supporters demanding gun legislation, outside the United States Capitol in Washington, on June 8, 2022.
EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — A gun-safety bill that marked rare bipartisan cooperation as it passed the U.S. Senate was poised for approval by the House of Representatives on Friday on its way to President Joe Biden's desk.

The Senate bill, passed in a 65-33 vote late Thursday, is a modest package of measures to toughen federal gun laws, weeks after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, that killed more than 30 people, including 19 children. Fifteen Republicans joined all 50 Senate Democrats in voting for passage.

More on guns in America
Weeks after the Uvalde school shooting, what steps the country will take to prevent another attack of this magnitude remain unclear. Frustrated doctors are clamoring for broad measures to curb the rise in gun violence.
Authors report that mass shootings cause almost six people to be injured for every one person killed, with 44% leaving disabled and carrying $65,000 in average hospital charges. Emergency medicine experts say AR-15 style weapons create extreme increase in bodily damage.
“I will do what I have to because my kids should not go to a school with a flag at half-staff because kids their age were murdered in their classroom,” said Missy Dodds after the Uvalde shooting. "No more. Never again." Seventeen years ago, Dodds survived the Red Lake, Minnesota, school shooting.
In congressional and local races across the United States, Republicans have seized upon calls by progressives to reduce police department budgets and other liberal criminal justice policies to paint almost all Democratic candidates as lenient on crime.
The justices are expected to rule by the end of this month in a challenge by two firearms owners and the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association to that state's restrictions on carrying concealed handguns in public.
Nineteen students, all aged 9 to 11, and two teachers were killed by an 18-year-old gunman who burst into their fourth-grade classroom and opened fire with a high-velocity AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.
Police removed school barricades on Monday, allowing public access on the Memorial Day federal holiday to a makeshift memorial with scores of teddy bears and hundreds of bouquets fading in the Texas heat.
The NRA's convention starts Friday in Houston, where Republicans including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former President Donald Trump are scheduled to address the gun-rights group.
The latest official details from the Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday's mass shooting differed sharply from initial police accounts and raised questions about security measures at the elementary school and the response of law enforcement.
Gov. Tim Walz and DFL lawmakers said that lawmakers should weigh changes to the state's gun laws during a special session, while Republicans noted that mental health was a more pressing issue in the Uvalde, Texas, shooting.

It is the first major gun-control legislation to pass in three decades in a country with the highest gun ownership per capita in the world and the highest number of mass shootings annually among wealthy nations.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded the bill's passage and said in a statement that her chamber would take up the bill "first thing" on Friday, with a vote coming as soon as possible.

The legislation would tighten background checks for potential gun buyers with prior domestic violence convictions or significant juvenile criminal records as well as increase funding for school security and mental health programs.

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House Republicans urged members to vote against it, but in a chamber controlled by Democrats, their support is not needed for passage.

Biden has said that he will sign the bill into law.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson; editing by Mark Porter.)

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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