By a 64-34 vote, the U.S. Senate Tuesday night advanced an 80-page bipartisan gun control measure for fast track action this week, and it is already drawing fire from Second Amendment advocates and some pro-gun rights journalists.
The National Rifle Association declared its opposition, noting in a prepared statement, “It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners…This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.”
Meanwhile, Ammoland is reporting that the legislation is getting support from the gun prohibition lobby. John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety—the gun control lobbying organization backed by billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg—quickly backed the measure. As noted by the Washington Post, Feinblatt said the bill moves the country “one big step closer to breaking the 26-year logjam that has blocked Congressional action to protect Americans from gun violence.”
Fourteen Republicans voted to move the bill for debate and a vote in the Senate, which could happen later this week, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), a career Capitol Hill anti-gunner. They are Texas Sen. John Cornyn—lead negotiator for the Republicans—and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, plus the following group identified by Fox News: Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Todd Young of Indiana, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Roy Blunt of Missouri.
In order to pass and be moved to the House of Representatives, at least 10 Republicans must vote to pass it in the Senate to achieve the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster.
The bill provides $750 million to 19 states and the District of Columbia that have already adopted so-called “red flag” laws, “and to other states with violence prevention programs. States with “red flag” laws that receive the funds would have to have legal processes for the gun owner to fight the firearm’s removal,” according to the Associated Press.
Cornyn also said there is a provision in the legislation that allows someone convicted of non-spousal misdemeanor domestic abuse to “have an opportunity after five years to have their Second Amendment rights restored. But they have to have a clean record.”
Another tenet already drawing fire from Cooke and others is a so-called “enhanced background check” for young adults ages 18-21, with three business days to conduct the checks and allowing up to 10 days if there is “cause for further investigation. By singling out people in this age group, is there a potential challenge under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause?
According to Fox News, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, released a statement in which she vowed, “After the Senate passes this bill, the House will swiftly bring it to the Floor so that we can send it to President Biden’s desk.”