US Senate agrees to slightly tougher gun laws

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The US Senate on Tuesday approved tougher federal gun laws. A group of senators showed a bill that had been negotiated for weeks. This was prompted by the mass shootings in New York and Texas that recently took place in the United States.

The bill contains modest restrictions for new firearms. This concerns, for example, provisions that help states keep weapons out of the reach of people considered to be a danger to themselves or others. Gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21 are also subject to stricter background checks. Such an investigation examines possible incidents in the past.

The bill is tied to an additional $15 billion for mental health services and investments in school safety.

A first procedural vote took place on Tuesday, on the basis of which the actual vote can be taken. The latter will take place at the end of this week or next week, according to Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer. Both parties, Democrats and Republicans, will be throwing their support, so the vote will only be a formality.

President Biden is expected to sign a gun bill passed by both houses. When the outline of the Senate agreement was released last week, he said: “Obviously it doesn’t include everything I think is necessary, but it does reflect important steps in the right direction and it would represent a key gun safety legislation that Congress has reportedly passed over the past few decades.”

Firearms in the United States

  • There are approximately 350 to 400 million firearms in the country.
  • 40% of Americans live in households with one or more guns.
  • 39,773 gun deaths in 2017 (two-thirds were suicides).
  • Each state has its own gun laws.
  • California has the strictest gun laws, Mississippi has the most fluid.
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