Senator Ron Jonson participates in a Senate hearing.
Senate

Overcoming GOP Opposition, U.S. Senate Passes Historic Bipartisan Gun Reform

Democrats in the U.S. Senate today successfully reached across the aisle to pass the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a historic piece of gun violence prevention legislation that’s “aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people.” 

Despite stiff opposition from a majority of Republicans in the Senate — including 2022 candidates Ron Johnson, Marco RubioRand Paul, and Chuck Grassley, and 2024 presidential hopefuls Rick Scott, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley — the bill includes critical provisions on “gun safety, mental health, and school safety […] that will help prevent gun violence.”

Specifically, the bipartisan bill closes the “boyfriend loophole” and includes “money for school safety, mental health, state crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which would provide a more compressive background check for those between the ages of 18 and 21 who want to buy guns.”

Senators Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Richard Burr, and Roy Blunt — retiring members with seats up for election in 2022 — each voted for the bill, which heightens pressure on the Republicans running to replace them to support commonsense and widely-supported gun violence prevention measures.Despite that pressure, don’t expect any of those 2022 Republican Senate candidates to support these bipartisan, commonsense provisions.

  • Aspiring Rob Portman replacement JD Vance has already come out against the bipartisan proposal.
  • Pennsylvania Republicans’ pick to replace Toomey, Mehmet Oz, has so far declined to support the measure.
  • Every Missouri Republican running to replace Blunt — from Eric Greitens to Eric Schmittopposes the mental health and gun violence prevention bill.
  • And it’s unlikely that Ted Budd, North Carolina Republicans’ nominee to replace Burr, is going to break from U.S. House Republicans who are whipping votes against the measure.

Other 2022 Republican U.S. Senate candidates have likewise come out against the proposal — including both Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidates.