Assault rifles still allowed: US draft law tightens gun laws only very delicately

Assault rifles allowed
US draft law only slightly tightens gun laws

Less than a month after the massacre that killed 21 at a Texas elementary school, a bipartisan group in the US Senate passed a bill to improve gun violence protections. Critics speak of a far too lax minimal compromise.

After two devastating gun shootings in the United States, senators from Democrats and Republicans have introduced a bill for a slight tightening of gun laws. The text presented on Tuesday (local time) provides, among other things, for extended background checks on gun buyers under the age of 21. In addition, financial incentives are to be created for the individual states to temporarily remove the guns from potentially dangerous gun owners. Billions are also planned for safety in schools and better psychiatric care in the country.

The reform project does not go as far as demanded by US President Joe Biden. During the election campaign, the president had promised, among other things, to ban the sale of assault rifles to private individuals.

However, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy spoke on Tuesday of the “most important anti-gun violence law in almost 30 years”. “This law will save thousands of lives.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also spoke of “progress” that would “save lives.” At the same time, he admitted that his party would have wished for more far-reaching measures. “Even if it’s not all we want, this law is badly needed.”

A law in general is already a success

Two serious attacks in May sparked renewed debate in the United States about tightening gun laws. First, in the state of New York, an 18-year-old shot dead ten people in front of and in a supermarket with an assault rifle, apparently for racist reasons. At an elementary school in the small Texas town of Uvalde, an 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers.

After the attacks, the Democrats called for stricter gun laws. However, they are dependent on cooperation with the opposition Republicans, who have a blocking minority in the Senate and have opposed restrictions on the right to own guns for decades. In view of the political polarization in the USA, the fact that both parties were able to agree on a legal text on gun law is already a success.

Republican negotiator Senator John Cornyn said Tuesday that the reform bill puts an emphasis on school safety and mental health services and includes “no new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.” Democrats are hoping to get the bill through the Senate and then the House of Representatives in the coming days, so Biden can sign the text into law soon.

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