what you need to know about the proposed firearms law, “the most important in almost thirty years”

A step towards better gun control. The US Senate must decide by Saturday June 25 on a bipartisan bill (available in English via this link) to curb gun violence. This is the first legislative obstacle for the 80-page text, adopted by 64 votes to 34. If it is validated by the senators, the text will then have to be approved by the House of Representatives, controlled by the Democratic camp.

The text of the law is the result of the work of two elected officials, Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican John Cornyn, pushed to dialogue by two recent shootings that shocked part of the United States. The first, the Uvalde massacre, took place in an elementary school in Texas, where an 18-year-old teenager opened fire on May 24, killing 21 people, including 19 children. Mid-May, another massacrein which 10 black people were killed in a supermarket, in Buffalo, New York, also made headlines.

These dramas highlight light on the chronic problem of gun control in the United States. At least 250 shootings have taken place since the start of 2022, killing 256 people, according to the Washington Post. The newspaper also points out that “not a single week of 2022 has gone by without a shooting”. A situation that prompted Democratic President Joe Biden, after the killing of Ulvade, to say to himself “disgusted and tired” during a solemn address, and to wonder “When, for God’s sake, are we going to face the gun lobby?”

The text presented by the two senators intends to strengthen the verification of criminal and psychological backgrounds for arms buyers aged 18 to 21. The law, which will mobilize about 15 billion dollars, also provides for better control of the illegal sale of weapons as well as the financing of programs devoted to mental health. The senators also plan to distribute money to “States and local communities to improve school safety and implement mental health initiatives”relieves The Guardian.

In an America deeply divided politically, an agreement in Congress between elected Democrats and Republicans is rare, especially on this very divisive subject. The law is the result of complex negotiations. the New York Times wants for evidence his title, “Safer Communities Act”, “which puts forward the term ‘security’, not to mention putting limits on the rights of individuals to buy or possess a weapon”a red line for Republicans.

It is “the most significant anti-gun violence legislation in almost three decades”thus tweeted (in English) Chris Murphy. Republican John Cornyn meanwhile claimed that the text was intended to ensure that attacks like that of Uvalde are “less likely to happen, while protecting the Second Amendment” of the Constitution, which permits the possession of firearms.

If the validation of the law in the final reading does not seem to be in doubt, since it is supported by the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate, its content is well below Joe Biden’s expectations. The US president had publicly shown his support for activists against gun violence by listing the measures he wants to see adopted. But the ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, background checks for all gun buyers (and not just those under 21) or even the obligation for individuals to keep their arms under lock and key, are not part of the final text.

Although the agreement is limited, the organization Moms Demand Action (“Moms ask for measures”, in English), which campaigns for a stricter framework for arms sales, said in a press release (in English) that it was about “one giant leap for our movement”promising to fight “until adopted”. But the NRA, the arms lobby, immediately expressed its opposition to the text, judging on the contrary that it could be used to “restrict purchases of legal weapons”.

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