The United States Senate on Thursday passed a Bill to increase background checks for prospective gun buyers between the age of 18 to 21, The New York Times reported.
The Bill proposes, for the first time, the vetting of juvenile records of those above 16. This would also include their mental health records. The Bill also proposes for funds to run programs for school safety and tighten the federal ban on domestic abusers buying firearms.
It would also provide incentives to those states which would pass laws that allow guns to be temporarily confiscated from people deemed to be too dangerous to possess them by a judge, according to The New York Times.
The Bill received 65 votes in favour, while 33 legislators opposed it. Among those who supported the Bill were 15 Republican leaders, who broke party ranks.
The Bill will now be taken into consideration by the House of Representatives. If passed by the House, the Bill would be the most significant firearms legislation in the US in nearly 30 years, according to the BBC.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the United States Supreme Court said that Americans have the fundamental right to carry a handgun in public, Reuters reported. The court made the observation in a ruling against a New York law which required residents to give proof of a proper cause or a good reason to carry a handgun in public.
The developments regarding gun laws come amid a spate of incidents of mass shootings in the country. The United States has seen at least 254 mass shootings so far this year, according to CNN.
On Sunday, a 15-year-old boy was killed and three citizens were injured after a shooter fired at a crowd at a music event in Washington DC. Prior to that, shootings in Maryland, Philadelphia, Oklahoma and Texas had killed 31 persons, including 19 children.
On Thursday, United States President Joe Biden said the legislation would be one of the most significant steps to reduce gun violence in the country. It would provide law enforcement officials and prosecutors new tools to prosecute gun traffickers, he said.
However, Biden said that he was disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling against the gun law in New York.
“This ruling contradicts common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” Biden said. “I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence.”