Seacoast U.S. Senators Back Gun Violence Bill
The Seacoast U.S. Senate delegation was all in on a $13 billion gun violence bill that answers the cry for legislators to "do something" after a series of mass shootings around the country.
The bill, called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed 65-33 with the support of New Hampshire Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, plus Maine's Angus King and Susan Collins. Collins was one of 15 Republicans to support the bill.
"Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities. Families in Uvalde and Buffalo - and too many tragic shootings before - have demanded action. And tonight, we acted," President Joe Biden said in a statement after the vote. He called for the House of Representatives to vote on the bill "promptly."
The House will vote on the bill Friday.
The bill would:
- Strengthen background checks for the youngest gun buyers and offer states incentives to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System
- Closes the "boyfriend loophole" which changes the process for someone age 18-21 buying a gun.
- Help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people in "crisis"
- Fund local programs for school safety, mental health, and crisis intervention programs
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: "A significant step to better protect our communities"
"For many Americans, this is the most significant gun safety legislation of their lifetime. These long overdue reforms will save lives & stop the heartbreak," Shaheen said in a tweet.
In a statement, Shaheen said Congress owes action to the families of shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, Las Vegas, & towns across the country.
“This bill marks a significant step to better protect our communities, but we cannot stop there. More will be needed to truly end senseless gun violence and prevent unnecessary death and destruction in American cities and towns."
Sen. Maggie Hassan: "This legislation takes meaningful, commonsense steps"
Hassan was pleased that the Senate took the first significant action on gun violence legislation since 1994.
“For far too long, Congress has failed to act in the aftermath of horrific incidents of gun violence in our country, but that changed today. Because of the dedicated advocacy of survivors and the loved ones of victims of gun violence, we passed bipartisan legislation that will help save lives. This legislation takes meaningful, commonsense steps to help protect schools and communities, invest in mental health, and help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals," Hassan said in an emailed statement.
Sen. Angus King: "This bill is not perfect"
In a statement his Twitter account, independent King said the bill is not perfect, but it's the best available at this moment in time.
"It is my hope that this bill makes important progress and successfully jump started negotiations after a near thirty year impasse on this critical subject. It is my hope this bill is the start, not the end, of the conversation."
Sen. Susan Collins: "This package demonstrates that members of the Senate
can come together"
Collins said she helped negotiate the legislation and spoke on the Senate floor before the vote. She said the bill will help Maine's yellow flag law, which is similar to a red flag law. It will also crack down on "straw purchasing" and firearms trafficking.
"It is important to note that this package demonstrates that members of the Senate
can come together and work in a constructive way to get important goals achieved on behalf of the American people."
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH