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US Senate passes rare bipartisan gun control legislation

The US Senate has passed a rare bipartisan package of gun safety legislation, sending it to the House of Representatives for further approval.

The bill, seen as the first significant gun control legislation to pass in three decades, was passed by 65 votes to 33.

Fifteen Republican senators joined all 50 Democrats in voting for the bill.

The measures include tougher background checks for younger would-be gun owners, measures to keep guns away from more domestic violence offenders, and red flag laws that will make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people judged to be dangerous.

The $13bn package will also fund programmes about school safety, mental health, and violence prevention.

But compromise could not be reached on broader measures, such as banning assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazine, and so these have been left out of the legislation.

It comes after a number of recent mass shootings, including one at a school in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers; and one at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, which left 10 people dead.

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They were among more than 20,800 people who have been killed in gun violence in the US this year, including through homicide and suicide, according to non-profit research group Gun Violence Archive.

Before the vote, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “This is not a cure-all for the ways gun violence affects our nation, but it is a long overdue step in the right direction”.

The bill is expected to pass in the Democrat-controlled House, before it is signed into law by US President Joe Biden.

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