US Senate passes major gun reform bill; Fla. Sens. Scott, Rubio oppose; passage likely in House

The final vote on Senate 2938 last night. (Image: US Senate)

June 24, 2022 by David Silverberg

By a vote of 65 to 33, he United States Senate last night passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to make American communities safer (Senate 2938) by regulating gun sales and possession.

Both of Florida’s Republican senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, voted against the bill.

The bill now returns to the House of Representatives for final approval, which may occur as early as today.

In a bizarre bit of legislative maneuvering, the major provisions were tagged onto a bill that Rubio introduced in May renaming a US courthouse in Tallahassee after Joseph Woodrow Hatchett, a former US Appeals Court judge.

The bill expands criminal background checks for gun buyers, bars a larger group of domestic-violence offenders from being able to purchase firearms, and funds “red flag” programs that would allow authorities to seize guns from troubled individuals.

“Many are comparing the bill being considered in the Senate to what we did in FL. However, they aren’t the same at all,” stated Scott in a tweet explaining his vote.

In 2018, as governor, Scott signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act, which went further than the Senate bill in restricting gun sales and establishing “red flag” provisions to allow seizure of guns from people considered a danger to themselves and others. Nonetheless, stated Scott, “The Senate bill is unacceptably weak on protecting due process & automatically restores gun rights to convicted domestic abusers. That’s why I can’t support it.”

As of this writing, Rubio had not issued a statement on any online platform explaining his vote.

Immediately after the 9:42 pm vote in the Senate, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.) issued a statement: “On behalf of the House, we applaud the Senate for passing its gun violence prevention package on a strong bipartisan vote.

“Every day, gun violence steals lives and scars communities — and this crisis demands urgent action.  While we must do more, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a step forward that will help protect our children and save lives,” she stated.

“First thing tomorrow morning, the Rules Committee will meet to advance this life-saving legislation to the Floor.  When the Rules Committee finishes its business, we will head immediately to the Floor.  And we will send the bill to President Biden for his signature, with gratitude for his leadership.”

All of Southwest Florida’s members of Congress voted against the bill when it was first considered in the House.

Some indication of their likely votes came yesterday, June 23, after a Supreme Court decision striking down a New York restriction on concealed weapons. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.) tweeted: “Today’s SCOTUS ruling is a massive win for our Republic and the Constitution that guides it. As Justice Thomas stated, the Second Amendment is NOT a second-class right, and this 6-3 ruling sets that in stone. DON’T TREAD ON ME & MY RIGHT TO KEEP & BEAR ARMS.”

Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.) similarly praised the Supreme Court decision.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) did not issue any statement.

Liberty lives in light

© 2022 by David Silverberg

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