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June 24, 2022

Thursday night, the Senate passed the “Safer Communities Act,” the first major gun bill to pass since the Brady Bill in 1994. Fifteen Republicans joined all the Democrats in voting for it, with Texas Sen. John Cornyn taking the lead in promoting it.

Republican supporters claim that the bill, which includes bipartisan items like funding for enhanced school security, mental health programs and expanded background checks (but no bans on specific guns) will help prevent gun violence but not infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. However, critics say the funding for states to create red flag laws opens the door to abuse and confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens without due process.

The bill now moves to the House, where it’s virtually certain to pass, and of course, President Biden will sign it. Then will come years of expensive lawsuits and innocent people having their rights infringed before (hopefully) the Supreme Court finally throws out any unconstitutional parts that should have been removed or clarified during Senate debate.

It’s noted in the linked story that the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, “was the major driver behind the bipartisan effort.” While that horrific shooting was heartbreaking, I have to say that I am disturbed to see the Senate using it as a reason to rush through a controversial bill with almost no time for debate that will almost certainly result in abuses and legal challenges.

When the Founders created the Senate, they envisioned it as a “cooling off” stage, where bills passed in the heat of passion by the House would be scrupulously examined and debated before being advanced into laws. As understandable as the anguish over Uvalde is, it's still being investigated and the Senate has already rushed through the first major gun bill in nearly 30 years, so quickly that some Senators barely had time to read it, much less debate and amend it.

With all due respect, we already have an impulsive, emotion-driven House of Representatives pushing to “do something, even if it’s wrong.” We don’t need two of them.

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