The Safer Communities Act, the new gun reform bill proposed in the Senate, is not expected to receive significant Republican support in the House. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., believes no more than 15 House Republicans will vote for the legislation.
The bipartisan bill is expected to pass through the Senate as soon as Thursday, with a vote soon after in the House.
“I’m not the world’s greatest vote counter, but frankly, I’d be shocked if it’s over 15. That’ll be interesting because that means there’ll be more Republican votes in the Senate than there will be in the House,” Rep. Johnson told Straight Arrow News.
Johnson explained the biggest concerns he hears from constituents and other lawmakers are regarding the red flag law provisions included in the bill.
“People just really believe that if you’re going to erode someone’s constitutional rights, you can’t do it without full due process. Because the Constitution also says you can’t deprive somebody of rights without due process,” Johnson said.
The expanded background checks for 18 to 20 year olds, which includes the ability to review juvenile records, are not as much of a concern compared to the red flag law provisions, according to Johnson.
Johnson discussed the Safer Communities Act, Lower Food and Fuel Cost Act, and the Ocean Shipping Reform Act in a wide ranging interview with Straight Arrow News that will be released in its entirety later today.
The Senate voted 65-34 Thursday to break a filibuster on the Safer Communities Act, with 15 Republicans voting with the Democrats.
“I hope we’ll be able to pass it. I think it’s a significant step in the right direction to deal with the two issues that I think it focuses on: school safety and mental health,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.
The bill was meticulously negotiated on a bipartisan basis between Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. It included measures to close the “boyfriend loophole,” which will prevent those convicted of abusing a dating partner from owning a gun for five years, and it provides $3 billion for school and community mental health services.
“I believe that this week we will pass legislation that will become the most significant piece of anti-gun violence legislation Congress will have passed in 30 years. This is a breakthrough. And more importantly, it’s a bipartisan breakthrough,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said.
However, the legislation does not include some of the measures Democrats were hoping for, like a ban on assault weapons.