Pelosi says House will take up gun safety bill ‘first thing’ Friday morning
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Thursday that the House will take up the Senate-passed gun safety bill “first thing” Friday morning, after the legislation cleared the upper chamber in a bipartisan vote.
“First thing tomorrow morning, the Rules Committee will meet to advance this life-saving legislation to the Floor. When the Rules Committee finishes its business, we will head immediately to the Floor,” Pelosi wrote in a statement minutes after the Senate approved the measure.
“And we will send the bill to President Biden for his signature, with gratitude for his leadership,” she added.
The Senate approved the legislation, dubbed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, in a 65-33 vote late Thursday night. Fifteen Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), joined all Democrats in approving the measure.
On Thursday night following the Senate vote, President Biden urged the House to “promptly vote” on the legislation “and send it to my desk.”
Earlier this month, after Senate negotiators released the framework for their firearm proposal, Biden signaled that he would sign the measure into law, writing in a statement “the sooner it comes to my desk, the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives.”
The gun safety bill, which clocked in at 80 pages, includes nine provisions to curb gun violence in response to last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas.
The legislation calls for enhancing background checks for gun purchasers between the ages of 18 and 21, appropriating funds for red flag laws and other intervention programs, and closing the so-called boyfriend loophole by barring individuals from purchasing guns if they were convicted of a misdemeanor of violence against a current or former romantic partner.
It also bolsters the community mental health services pilot program, clarifies who is considered a gun dealer and strengthens penalties for individuals who traffic guns or obtain them through straw purchases.
The vote, which is likely to pass because Democrats hold the majority in the House, will cap off weeks of negotiations between members of both parties that began after the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.
Ten Black individuals were fatally shot at a grocery store in Buffalo last month. Then, 10 days later, a gunman killed 19 students and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde.
The planned House vote comes exactly one month after the Uvalde shooting.
Earlier this month, the House passed a sweeping gun package that called for raising the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21 and banning high-capacity magazines. The chamber also approved a measure to nationalize red flag laws, which seek to keep guns away from individuals deemed a threat to themselves and others.
The House vote is already shaping up to be bipartisan — on Wednesday, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), who represents the district that includes Uvalde, said he will vote for the measure.
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