UPDATED 6/24 — Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling that nullified New York State’s requirement that concealed carry permit applicants provide “good cause” in order to get approved, the Senate rammed through the so-called “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” on a 65-33 vote and sent it to the House, where it was passed Friday 234-193.
Fourteen Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with House Democrats, sending the bill now to Joe Biden’s desk, according to NBC News.
Fifteen Republicans sided with 48 Democrats and 2 Independents to pass the measure in the Senate. Those Republicans were Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Todd Young of Indiana, and Roy Blunt of Missouri, according to Fox News.
The National Rifle Association issued a statement:
“On Thursday, SCOTUS released a historic decision in the NYSRPA v. Bruen case when they found the Second Amendment protects the right of law-abiding Americans to carry a firearm outside of the home. Despite the hysteria from many gun control extremists, this is a step in the right direction that simply provides good people the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones outside their home. Regrettably, just across the street from the Supreme Court at the Capitol, Congress took a step backward when they passed a gun control package that infringes on the rights of law-abiding Americans. This gun control package will now move to President Biden’s desk, where he’s expected to sign it into law.
“We are deeply disappointed in the passage of this gun control bill. The NRA joins the rest of America in trying to help curb violence across our country. This is why we support school safety with dedicated resources at the federal level, an investment in better access to, and quality of, mental health care, increased funding and support for law enforcement, and a firm position on gun crime with serious penalties for those who break the law.
“The NRA cannot and will not support senseless gun control measures that some in Congress have already said is just a first step that “paves the way” for additional gun control that will only infringe on the rights of the law-abiding. These measures were hastily jammed through with ambiguous language and overbroad definitions to appease gun control supporters in Congress.
“Behind the façade and the contrived talking points of safety, school security and mental health, this is a gun control bill. That’s why the NRA strongly opposed it. “
Likewise, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association offered this perspective:
“Fundamentally, the USCCA opposes the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. We are encouraged by the bill’s significant investments in school safety programs and our nation’s mental health system. However, our organization does not believe that taxpayer dollars should be used to fund ‘red flag’ law programs. We know that legislation targeting law-abiding gun owners makes Americans less safe,” said USCCA President and Founder, Tim Schmidt. “We will continue to encourage Congress to adopt critical legislation, like National Concealed Carry reciprocity, to ensure law abiding gun owners are able to protect themselves wherever they travel.”
As an organization representing more than 650,000 members nationwide, the USCCA carefully reviewed all elements of the proposed legislation and its potential impacts on law abiding gun owners. We are concerned by the rushed process of consideration and believe the bill does not meaningfully address the critical issue of rising crime in our communities.
“At the end of the day, criminals by nature do not follow the law. Rather than making it harder for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, we urge Congress to support policies that will protect our children in schools and families throughout our communities. There are solutions in Congress right now to do this, but this rushed package is not the answer,” concluded Schmidt.
The bill provides funding for states to create or support so-called “red flag” laws ostensibly aimed at keeping guns away from people who are allegedly a danger to themselves or others, often called red flag laws. It would also enhance background checks for gun buyers under 21, add penalties for some gun criminals and provide funding for a variety of health and mental health-related programs, according to Fox News.
The legislation also “addresses closing the so-called ‘boyfriend loophole,’ which is a gap in federal law that means spousal domestic abusers can have gun rights taken away but not unmarried ones,” Fox News added.
CBS News said earlier that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “vowed to take it up swiftly.” However, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was pushing hard to get Republicans to reject the bill, but with Democrats holding a thin majority, that was not likely to change the outcome, and with the 14 defections, it was “game over.”
Democrats needed a victory on gun control to overshadow the stinging defeat handed to the gun prohibition movement by the high court decision, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas.
According to CNN, “The measure includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“It also makes significant changes to the process when someone ages 18 to 21 goes to buy a firearm and closes the so-called boyfriend loophole, a victory for Democrats, who have long fought for that,” CNN added.