On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter to criticize Senate Republicans for allowing passage of the first congressional bill on gun violence in nearly three decades.
With weak "Republican leaders" in the Senate selling us out like this, who needs Democrats?" said Trump Jr., taking aim at Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) after he suggested to his Democratic colleagues that an immigration compromise might be possible after this.
\u201cWith weak "Republican leaders" in the Senate selling us out like this, who needs Democrats?\u201d— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.) 1655906544
The bill, known as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed the Senate with 64 votes. Fourteen Republicans voted in favor, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The legislation does not do many things Democrats were hoping for in a reform of federal gun laws, including extending background checks to private sales or banning military-style assault weapons. However, it provides funding for states to adopt "red flag" laws temporarily confiscating guns from suspicious persons, reforms the "boyfriend loophole" that allows people with domestic abuse restraining orders to obtain firearms, and provides new funding for mental health around the country.
The bill took several days to be hammered out, as Republicans and Democrats had disputes over how exactly the red flag and boyfriend loophole provisions should be implemented.
Chris Murphy, the senator leading negotiations for Democrats, hailed the bill as the "most significant piece of anti-gun violence legislation in nearly 30 years."
"This bill is going to save thousands of lives," he tweeted.
The lawmakers had been up against the clock -- aware that any delay risked losing the sense of urgency ignited by the fatal shooting of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas and of 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, upstate New York, both last month.
The last significant federal gun control legislation was passed in 1994, banning the manufacture for civilian use of assault rifles and large capacity ammunition clips.
But it expired a decade later and there has been no serious effort at reform since, despite rising gun violence.
"This bipartisan gun-safety legislation is progress and will save lives. While it is not everything we want, this legislation is urgently-needed," Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
While the bill is a carefully crafted compromise that avoids placing any new restrictions on people who can legally own firearms, some Republicans are still outraged over the deal. Cornyn was furiously booed by Republicans on the stage of the Texas GOP convention for his role in brokering the agreement.
With additional reporting by AFP