The Senate cleared a decades-long partisan impasse over how to address gun violence on Thursday night, passing a modest set of gun safety measures that would enhance background checks for younger buyers and fund new mental health programs.
The bill passed by a vote of 65 to 33, garnering support from the entire Democratic caucus and 15 Republicans, on the same day the Supreme Court expanded the scope of gun rights in a landmark ruling.
“This is the sweet spot … making America safer, especially for kids in school, without making our country one bit less free,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, said Thursday. “This is a common-sense package. Its provisions are very, very popular. It contains zero, zero new restrictions, zero new waiting periods, zero mandates and zero bans of any kind for law-abiding gun owners.”
Along with McConnell, the other 14 Republicans that voted for the bill were Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr 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, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania. and Todd Young of Indiana.
It was all but inevitable the bill would pass after 10 Republican Senators vowed to back the original framework last week. But that didn’t stop others from attempting to delay the vote. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky proposed nine amendments to the bill on Thursday, arguing that the…