US Senate passes first gun control bill in decades

The US Senate has passed a gun control bill – the most significant firearms legislation in nearly 30 years, the BBC reports.

Fifteen Republicans joined Democrats in the upper chamber of Congress to approve the measure by 65 votes to 33.

It follows mass shootings last month at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left a combined 31 people dead.

The bill will now have to pass in the House of Representatives before President Biden can sign it into law.

This could happen within days.

Although significant, the proposals fall far short of what many Democrats and activists have called for.

The reforms include tougher background checks for buyers younger than 21 and $15bn in federal funding for mental health programs and school security upgrades.

It also calls for funding to encourage states to implement “red flag” laws to remove firearms from people considered a threat.

And it closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by blocking gun sales to those convicted of abusing unmarried intimate partners.

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