The Senate has advanced bipartisan gun control legislation, clearing the chamber’s 60-vote filibuster and setting up a potential vote on final passage as soon as Thursday evening.
Fifteen Republicans sided with all 50 Democrats to move the legislation to the floor, where it is expected to be approved and sent to the House.
Ahead of the morning vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he hoped to secure a final vote on passage “before the day is out.”
“Let us finish our job today,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
The vote came just two days after the Senate successfully advanced the legislation in an initial procedural vote Tuesday.
The bill is expected to pass the House and be sent to President Biden’s desk for his signature into law. However, it is unclear how many House Republicans will offer their support.
At least one staunch Second Amendment advocate said Wednesday that he would vote in favor of the bill, citing his experience with domestic violence as a child.
“My name is Tony Gonzales and I am a survivor of domestic abuse, my stepfather would come home drunk & beat on me and my mother,” Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales wrote in a Twitter thread.
“One night he decided that wasn’t enough and shoved a shotgun in my mother’s mouth. I was 5 at the time and not strong enough to fend off the wolves.”
“School was my sanctuary from the chaos at home. Now I am 41, all grown up. Loving father of six children. Served our country in the Navy for 20 years, led men and women in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. I slay wolves every day,” the Republican continued, adding that in Congress it is his “duty to pass laws that never infringe on the Constitution while protecting the lives of the innocent.”
“In the coming days I look forward to voting YES on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.”
The legislation provides financial incentives for states to create mental health programs and implement so-called “red flag” laws, requires expanded background checks for gun buyers under 21, increases penalties for straw purchases of firearms, and closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” prohibiting romantic partners convicted of domestic violence from obtaining firearms.
The expected passage of the legislation comes one month after two mass shootings in a grocery store in Buffalo and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killed 31 people. Both shooters were 18 and used military-style assault weapons.
The shootings sparked national outrage over gun violence and spurred cooperation among a bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers — led by Democratic Sen. Chis Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.
Initially, Democrats sought to ban assault rifles and raise the legal age to buy semi-automatic weapons to 21. However, neither measure made it into the final package.