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'Red Flag' Gun Law Has Best Chance of Passing in Divided Congress

Senators in both parties say “red flag” laws, on the books in at least 19 states, has the best chance of securing enough bipartisan support to make it to President Biden’s desk after mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Tx., The Hill reports. Several senators see red flag legislation as having a better chance of becoming law than proposals to expand background checks, which the House passed last year but have sat in Senate limbo. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA), a key swing vote, identified red flag legislation as a promising avenue for compromise. “If we can’t get 70 or 75 senators to vote for commonsense protection of your children or grandchildren, what in the world are we here for? What’s your purpose for being in the United States Senate if it’s not at least to protect the children?” he said.

Manchin does not support the bill passed by the House to require background checks for all firearms sales and transfers. The proposal he negotiated with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in 2013 would not require background checks for transfers between friends and family. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) also sees red flag legislation as a good bipartisan proposal. She reiterated support for legislation that would create a process to take firearms away from people who are mentally unstable. “That is the kind of law that could have made a difference in this case," she said, explaining that the Texas shooter was apparently mentally ill, but bought his weapon legally and passed a background check.


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