The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on Thursday on a bipartisan gun control bill that supporters hope will help curb the mass shootings that have rocked the country, in what could be Congress's first new limits on guns in decades.
The 80-sided Bipartisan Safer Communities Act would encourage states to keep guns out of the hands of those deemed to be dangerous and tighten background checks for would-be gun purchasers who have been convicted of domestic violence or significant crimes as juveniles.
It doesn't include more sweeping gun control measures favored by Democrats, including President Joe Biden, such as a ban on assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines. Biden renewed calls for action after a series of high-profile shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.
The legislation will need support from 60 of the Senate's 100 lawmakers to overcome Thursday's procedural hurdle. The chamber's split 50 -- 50 will need the support of at least 10 Republicans to advance. Democrats were optimistic after 14 Republicans supported an initial step forward on Tuesday.
Sixty-four members came together to move forward, an unmistakable sign of the broad support and momentum behind this bill, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech on Wednesday.
If Thursday's vote succeeds, the bill would come up with a vote on passage that is expected to be passed on Friday.
Republicans who support the bill insist that it does not erode the rights of law-abiding gun owners, are among their most ardent constituents.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that it doesn't seem to the rights of the overwhelming majority of American gun owners, who are law-abiding citizens of sound mind.
Republican supporters have faced criticism over the legislation, which is opposed by the National Rifle Association, the nation's biggest gun lobby.
The bill provides funding to help states adopt red flag laws to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are considered a danger to themselves or others. It would provide enhanced school security and alternative intervention measures in state where red flag laws are opposed.
It closes the boyfriend loophole by denying gun purchases to those convicted of abusing intimate partners in dating relationships, and allows states to add juvenile criminal and mental health records to national background check databases.
Senator John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator on the bill, was booed last week as he spoke about its contents during a speech before a Republican Party convention in his home state of Texas.
The bill would provide $4.5 billion in funding for the Justice Department, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education, according to 2 Democrat. A Republican aide said the measure's price tag was $15 billion.