For the first time in 30 years: US Senate votes to tighten light gun laws

For the first time in 30 years
US Senate approves light gun laws

The US Senate passes bipartisan gun safety legislation. The draft, which still has to be approved by the House of Representatives, does not actually go far enough for the Democrats. But the fact that they can come to an agreement with the Republicans at all is a success.

The US Senate voted to pass legislation slightly tightening gun laws after two devastating gun shootings last month. In the vote in the Congress Chamber, there were 65 votes in favor and 33 against. The bill now has to pass the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by President Joe Biden. It is the first federal tightening of US gun laws in almost 30 years.

Among other things, the text provides for extended background checks on gun buyers under the age of 21, where criminal records, for example, are checked. 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 Democrats around President Biden would have liked to have decided on further measures. They encountered resistance from the opposition Republicans, who have a blocking minority in the Senate. For them, gun owners are one of the most important voter groups. 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 considered 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.

More than 20,800 people have been killed by guns in the United States so far this year, according to the non-partisan research group Gun Violence Archive. The number includes suicides.

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