Biden Signs Bipartisan Gun Control Measure Supported by 29 Republicans

President Joe Biden on Saturday signed bipartisan gun control legislation meant to take guns out of the hands of individuals deemed a threat, though critics say that’s a violation of due process rights. The measure also imposes more thorough background checks on buyers under the age of 21.

It does not include a ban on AR-15-style weapons or limit the number of bullets in magazines.

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U.S. Senate Reaches Agreement on Gun Control Bill

The U.S. Senate voted late Tuesday to advance a gun control bill with 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joining Democrats to approve the measure.

The vote was reached after weeks of negotiating a bipartisan bill in response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers.

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Crime Victims’ Loved Ones Condemn Philadelphia District Attorney Krasner

John Toomey, flanked by other relatives of slain Philadelphians as well as state lawmakers at the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg on Tuesday, tearfully discussed the fate that befell his 15-year-old son Sean. Many who gathered near him showed similar anguish as they listened.

Toomey and dozens of his fellow bereaved Philadelphians convened at the legislative building’s front lobby to condemn the performance of District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) since he became the city’s top prosecutor in 2018.

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Mastriano Proposes Allowing Permitted Teachers to Be Armed at Pennsylvania Schools

State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) asked colleagues Tuesday to co-sponsor a bill he plans to introduce to let teachers carry guns in Pennsylvania schools. 

Under the proposal, teachers who hold concealed carry permits may be armed on school property provided they complete “a rigorous firearms course from a certified instructor.” Similar measures are now in effect in 28 states.

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Republican Senators Considering Voting for Gun Control Measures

In the U.S. Senate, some Republican senators appear open to signing off on Democrat-proposed efforts to increase gun control restrictions in the wake of several recent mass shootings.

Politico reports that the negotiations are being led on the Republican side by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas). Cornyn has already briefed Republican leadership on what he has discussed with other senators over last week’s recess, and recently held a meeting with Democrats Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to move talks forward.

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New York GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs Will Not Seek Re-Election After Gun Control Support Backlash

New York GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs announced on Friday that he would not seek re-election after his support for an assault weapons ban generated backlash within his own party.

Jacobs announced last week, in the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., that he would back a federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, according to the New York Times. Jacobs represents the 27th Congressional District of New York, which includes some of the Buffalo suburbs.

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Giffords Endorses Democrat in High-Profile Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Race

A far-left gun control group based in Arizona Thursday endorsed Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, who is also the state’s Democrat nominee for Governor in this year’s election. 

“For years, @JohnFetterman has been a powerful voice for Pennsylvanians who have lost their lives to gun violence, and I have no doubt that he will continue this fight in the Senate. I am proud to back Lt. Gov. Fetterman in his bid for US Senate,” Gabrielle Giffords said in a Thursday tweet.

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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: Greater School Security Not Something Biden ‘Believes In’ Since ‘The Problem Is with Guns’

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday Joe Biden has no interest in Republican proposals that focus on “hardening schools,” i.e., installing greater security and safety measures, because “the problem is with guns.”

Asked if she could elaborate on Biden’s promise to meet with members of Congress on new gun laws, Jean-Pierre said  gun violence is an “epidemic” across the country.

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Push for Gun Control in Pennsylvania Expands to Body-Armor Control

A bill proposed last week by state Rep. Tim Briggs (D-PA-King of Prussia) would bar civilians from buying or possessing body armor in Pennsylvania. 

His legislation follows efforts on the federal level and in other states to prohibit civilians from acquiring protective shields. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for a body-armor ban in 2019 after a mass shooting in Dayton, OH. The New York State Assembly has considered enacting state-level restrictions over the last few sessions, but a bill to do so has stalled.

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Sen. Chuck Schumer Rejects Sen. Ron Johnson’s School Safety Bill: ‘We Will Vote on Gun Legislation’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rejected a school safety bill proposed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) Wednesday, one that had been promoted by several of the parents of victims of the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

Schumer dismissed the legislation, first introduced in 2019, on which the Parkland victims’ parents had collaborated, claiming the bill “could see more guns in schools” and touting, “I blocked it.”

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Commentary: Red Flag Laws and Unintended Consequences

The senseless murder of 19 children and two teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas is leading to calls for more gun control. To some, “red flag” laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, seem like the obvious solution. These laws allow judges to seize a person’s guns without a trial, based solely on a written complaint that the person might be a danger to themselves or others. All a judge needs is “reasonable suspicion.”

“We know that we can show we can be united to protect our children,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, a famously moderate West Virginia Democrat.

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Pennsylvania House Republicans Defeat ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

Republicans in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this week defeated Democrats’ attempt to pass legislation prohibiting the sale of what they term “assault weapons.”

The bill was introduced last year by then-state Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Pittsburgh) who left his seat earlier this year to become mayor of Pittsburgh. It never received a vote of the House Judiciary Committee, so Democrats moved to suspend House floor rules and record a vote of the full chamber. The legislation failed by a vote of 111 to 87.

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Pennsylvania Senate Democrat Proposes Eligibility License for Guns

A day after the school shooting in Uvalde, TX, Pennsylvania Democrats are calling for more stringent gun control in the state, with state Sen. Art Haywood (D-Abington) proposing eligibility licenses for firearm purchases. 

Pennsylvania already administers licenses to carry firearms in Pennsylvania, for which any person who is at least 21 years old and has a clean record may apply.

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Connecticut Guns Sales Reach Five-Year High During Pandemic

woman in a white dress holding an AR in a gun shop

Gun sales reached a five-year high in Connecticut in 2021, the year that the FBI saw the second-highest number of recorded background checks.

According to Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there were 21 million background checks for gun sales in 2020 and 18.5 million in 2021, nationwide. Those figures are the top two highest on record.

“Background checks skyrocketed in March 2020, when there were 2.3 million background checks recorded,” Oliva told The Center Square. “That was the most ever recorded in a single month. That, of course, was the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns. People became concerned for their safety when police were warning they would not be able to respond to all emergency calls because they were seeing COVID infections rise.”

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Philadelphia Sets New Murder Record; Pennsylvania Governor Blames Guns, Not District Attorney

With homicides in Philadelphia, PA reaching a new record high this year, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has renewed his call for gun control, leaving progressive law-enforcement officials like Philadelphia’s infamously lenient District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) unmentioned. 

As of Dec. 29, 557 murders took place in Philadelphia in 2021, a 10.4-percent increase over the 499 murders that occurred during 2020—a year that itself saw 143 more murders than the previous year. (Homicides in Philadelphia have not numbered as many as 500 since 1990.) Gun robberies, vehicle theft and retail theft have all risen significantly. 

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