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Gun violence bill passage draws harsh criticism, mild praise in U.S.

Denver,  United States | Xinhua | U.S. Congress voted this week to enact the first gun control measures in America since assault weapons were banned for a decade in 1995, though many still doubt the real effect of the law on stemming gun violence.

The conclusive 67-34 vote Thursday in the U.S. Senate, and the 237-198 vote Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives followed an arduous two-week process convincing a dozen Republicans in both chambers to join a chorus of Democrats responding to overwhelming national outrage over recent mass shootings.

“We now have a small dent in the NRA’s (National Rifle Association’s) control of Republican politicians,” said Sandy Phillips, a national gun control advocate whose 24-year-old daughter Jessi was gunned down in a mass shooting 10 years ago in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

“This bill doesn’t go nearly as far as it should to protect children and innocent people in America from gun violence, but it’s better than nothing,” she told Xinhua Friday.

The bill was a direct response to multiple mass shootings last month, including one at an elementary school in Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, and another hate crime shooting in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 African Americans at a supermarket.

The bill’s passage surprised experts on both sides of the gun control debate, and was delayed last week by Republicans who objected to a “Red Flag” provision that protected women from angry, violent boyfriends, called the “boyfriend exclusion.”

In America, the wealthy, powerful, and influential NRA spends millions of dollars annually supporting Republican candidates who oppose any form of gun control.

Conversely, the Democratic Party has advocated and pushed for mild measures to curb the staggering 41,367 annual gun deaths in America, compared to 9,543 in Europe with twice America’s population, according to statistics.

Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law in the next few days.

Last month, National Public Radio encapsulated Biden’s plea to Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, raising the age for buying semi auto rifles to 21, pass national Red flag laws, and strengthen background check laws.

The NRA rejected such pleas and most of its Republican constituents stayed the course, but were outvoted by a handful of GOP members bucking the NRA to enact these simple concepts.

The bill was attacked immediately by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who played on NRA rhetoric that any gun control measures were caving in to liberal desires to take away guns for all Americans.

“When will middle America wake up and realize that the far right is controlling it like a puppet and pushing a radical right wing agenda that marginalized and murders Americans?” Phillips said.

“This is a baby step, and baby steps still kill babies,” Phillips said. “This law might help, but it does not go nearly far enough.” ■

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