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NC Sen. Thom Tillis votes in favor of bipartisan gun bill

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 8:06 PM EDT
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(WITN) - U.S Senate leaders have reached an agreement on a bipartisan gun violence reform bill, the first of its kind in more than 30 years.

The bill is making its way through the U.S Senate in response to multiple mass shootings that shook the nation.

It would toughen background checks for young firearms buyers and beef up penalties for gun trafficking. The legislation would also send money to states and communities to improve school safety and mental health initiatives.

On Tuesday, it cleared an initial hurdle by 64-34, with 14 Republicans joining all 48 Democrats and two Independents in voting yes.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis was one of the notable lawmakers to vote in favor of the bill.

“This is an 80-page bill,” Tillis said. “It is a bill that will take our response to behavioral health and mental health to a level it’s probably never been to before.”

Tillis also said he’s received numerous calls from constituents after the senate vote.

“We’re getting calls that are opposed to it, but when you dig down into what specifically you’re opposed to, it seems like some of these calls are motivated by groups that either have not had an opportunity to read the bill, or think that for some reason this is step one to something that they would find objectionable in subsequent legislation.”

Tillis’ vote was also applauded by Becky Ceartas, the Executive Director of North Carolinian’s Against Gun Violence.

“2020 was the most violent year of the 21st century with 1,699 gun-related deaths,” Ceartas said. “People in North Carolina want to see Congress taking action and want our state, local and federal officials to be preventing gun violence.”

Though Ceartas believes the gun bill will help save lives, she hopes the Senate will add other items to it--like universal background checks.

Tillis says there could be more tweaks to the proposed bill, but it will most likely not be until after the two-week July 4th recess that starts this weekend.

Congress made assault weapons illegal in 1993 in a ban that expired after a decade. That was the last sweeping legislation by federal lawmakers addressing gun violence.

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