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Senate passes gun-control legislation; poll finds most Republicans, Independents oppose 'red flag' laws

Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, left, and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn spearheaded the Senate's newly passed gun-control legislation.
Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, June 26, 2022

Hours after the Supreme Court delivered a major victory for gun rights proponents, Democrats in the Senate, joined by 15 Republicans, on Thursday approved legislation which critics say is another step in the gun-control movement's effort to eviscerate the Second Amendment.

The 65-33 vote on the so-called Safer Communities Act, led by Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, provides roughly $15 billion in funding for red-flag laws; closes the so-called boyfriend loophole related to dating partner; and expands background checks to include juvenile and mental health records for buyers under the age of 21.

“Doing nothing is an abdication of our responsibility,” Cornyn said on Thursday. He said Republicans had to agree to some things in the legislation “that were outside of our comfort zone, that frankly we’re having to explain to people.”

In a new poll, the majority of Republican and Independent voters said they believe "red flag" gun laws that allow judges to confiscate individuals’ firearms and can be abused for political reasons.

Convention of States Action, along with the Trafalgar Group, released polling data Wednesday that shows that 72.2% of Republicans and 52.3% of Independents “believe that 'red flag' gun control laws that are designed to temporarily take guns away from individuals have the potential to be abused by local authorities and government officials to disarm their political opponents and/or citizens who disagree with them.”

“Americans want real, workable solutions to the mass shootings we are seeing in this nation, but it’s obvious that they don’t see the proposed ‘red flag’ laws as the answer,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action. “More and more Americans are coming to the conclusion that the government abuses any power it’s given, and they are responding accordingly.”

The legislation, which is now sent to the House, increases penalties for engaging in straw purchases — the buying of a gun for someone else — and gun trafficking.

Breitbart News Second Amendment columnist AWR Hawkins pointed out that “trafficked or straw purchased firearms were not used in Uvalde, Buffalo, Parkland, Las Vegas, or Orlando, among others, adding that “straw purchases were banned long before” the Senate’s legislation was announced.

The trafficking section of the Senate gun-control bill “is much the same, in that it presents a penalty for selling guns to individuals who are otherwise barred from having them,” Hawkins noted.

In a 6-3 decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down New York state’s system for issuing concealed-weapons permits, ruling that the law requiring that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” and “good moral character” violates the Second Amendment.

Related: SCOTUS delivers major 2nd Amendment win in ruling on NY concealed-weapons law, June 23, 2022

Of the Republicans who supported the gun-control legislation, four are retiring and eight won’t face re-election until 2026. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah is up for re-election in 2024. Only Sens. Todd Young of Indiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are running this year.

“These are Republican senators that Republican voters do not support anymore,” Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will move to take up the legislation quickly after Senate passage. The bill will need majority support for passage in the House. Most House Democrats are expected to vote in favor and a handful of Republicans will likely join them, including Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is opposed to the bill and the chamber’s GOP leadership is urging members to vote against the bill, reports say.

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