The House of Representatives approved a firearm and mental health bill hatched in the Senate intended to reduce the growing number of mass shootings in the country.
The bill passed the House with mainly Democratic support. The bill passed by a 234-193 margin with 14 Republicans joining all 220 Democrats in passage.
"While it isn't everything we would have liked to see in legislation, it takes us down the road, the path to more safety, saving lives. Let us not judge the legislation for what it does not do, but respect it for what it does," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
The Senate approved the bill late Thursday by a 65-34 margin. While the bill had the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 14 other GOP members, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy encouraged House Republicans to vote against it.
The bill had opposition from the National Rifle Association.
The legislation will include the following:
- Funds for states to implement red flag laws
- Family mental health spending
- Getting rid of the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by including those convicted of domestic abuse in background checks
- Funding for school-based mental health programs
- Funding for school safety resources
- Clarifying the language of a federally licensed firearm dealer
- Investments in telehealth programs
- Implementing a waiting period on gun purchases for those under age 21
- Penalties for straw purchases of firearms
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, spent the last week finalizing details on the bill. One concern he noted was on the boyfriend loophole and clarifying the language on domestic relationships.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, explained why he was among Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the bill.
"This legislation accomplishes these goals without infringing upon a law-abiding citizen's second amendment right," he said. "And let me repeat that because there's been confusion in speeches from this floor, there's been internet exploding, there's rumors, afloat that somehow this infringes upon the law abiding citizen's right to keep and bear arms. That is absolutely false. And if anyone says, so they are misleading, the American people."