(Washington D.C.) — The Senate pushed a bipartisan gun violence bill to the brink of passage Thursday as it voted to halt a Republican filibuster against the measure, clearing the way for Congress’ most far-reaching response in decades to the nation’s run of brutal mass shootings.
After years of GOP procedural delays that derailed Democratic efforts to curb firearms, Democrats and some Republicans decided that congressional inaction was untenable after last month’s rampages in New York and Texas. It took weeks of closed-door talks but a group of senators from both parties emerged with an 80-page compromise embodying incremental but impactful movement.
The measure would toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged dangerous. It would also fund local programs for school safety, mental health and violence prevention.
Thursday’s roll call ending the blockade by conservative GOP senators was 65-34, five more than the 60-vote threshold needed. Final passage of the $13 billion measure was expected by week’s end with a House vote to follow. The timing was uncertain, but Congress was scheduled to leave town by the weekend for a two-week break.
Fifteen Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats, including their two allied independents, in voting to move ahead on the legislation.
The day proved bittersweet for advocates of curtailing gun violence. Underscoring the enduring potency of conservative cIout, the…