Washington: The US Senate has passed a gun control bill - the most significant firearms legislation in nearly 30 years.
As per reports, the US senators advanced a bipartisan bill late Thursday addressing the epidemic of gun violence convulsing the country, approving a narrow package of new firearms restrictions and billions of dollars in mental health and school security funding.
The final vote was 65 to 33 with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in support of the measure. The bill will next go to the House for a vote before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
The vote came the same day the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that required people to show a special need to carry a handgun in public, ruling for the first time that the Second Amendment protects gun rights outside the home.
The bipartisan gun deal includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was backed by all 50 Democratic senators and 15 Republicans, includes enhanced background checks for buyers under the age of 21, $11 billion in funding for mental health, and $2 billion for school safety programs.
It also provides funding to incentivize states to implement "red flag" laws to remove firearms from people considered a threat.
And it closes the so-called "boyfriend" loophole, under which domestic abusers could avoid a ban on buying firearms if they were not married to or living with their victim.
"Tonight, the United States Senate is doing something many believed was impossible even a few weeks ago: we are passing the first significant gun safety bill in nearly 30 years," Senate Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer said after the legislation passed.
"The gun safety bill we are passing tonight can be described with three adjectives: bipartisan, commonsense, lifesaving," he added.
The National Rifle Association and many Republicans in both chambers of Congress opposed the bill but it is endorsed by advocacy groups working in policing, domestic violence, and mental illness.
The breakthrough is the work of a cross-party group of senators who have been hammering out the details and resolving disputes for weeks.
The lawmakers had been scrambling to finish the negotiations quickly enough to capitalize on the momentum generated by the fatal shooting of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas, and of 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, upstate New York, both last month.