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US Senate passes gun safety bill

US Senate passed a bipartisan bill to address gun violence

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US Senate passes gun safety bill
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Washington: A bipartisan package of modest gun safety measures passed the US Senate even as the Supreme Court broadly expanded gun rights by ruling Americans have a constitutional right to carry handguns in public for self-defense.

The landmark court ruling and Senate action on gun safety illustrate the deep divide over firearms in the United States, weeks after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, killed more than 30 people, including 19 children. 

The Senate bill, approved in a 65-33 vote, is the first significant gun control legislation to pass in three decades, in a country with the highest gun ownership per capita in the world and the highest number of mass shootings annually among wealthy nations.

"This bipartisan legislation will help protect Americans. Kids in schools and communities will be safer because of it," President Joe Biden said following the vote. "The House of Representatives should promptly vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk."

The bill, which supporters say will save lives, is modest - its most important restraint on gun ownership would tighten background checks for would-be gun purchasers convicted of domestic violence or significant crimes as juveniles.

Republicans refused to compromise on more sweeping gun control measures favored by Democrats including Biden, such as a ban on assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines.

"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," Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor ahead of the vote.

The Supreme Court ruling earlier on Thursday, pushed through by its conservative majority, struck down New York state's limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home.

The court found that the law, enacted in 1913, violated a person's right to "keep and bear arms" under the US Constitution's Second Amendment. 

In the Senate vote late on Thursday, 15 Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting for the bill.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded the bill's passage and said in a statement it would advance in the House on Friday, with a vote coming as soon as possible.

House Republicans had instructed their members to vote against the bill, although since the chamber is controlled by Democrats their support was not needed for the bill's passage.

Biden will sign the bill into law.

The Senate action came weeks after an impassioned speech by Biden, in which he declared "enough" of gun violence and urged lawmakers to act.

Polls show that a majority of Americans support some new limits on firearms, demands that typically rise following mass shootings like those that occurred in Texas and New York.

Democrats warned that the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday could have dire consequences for gun safety nationwide.

"The Supreme Court got the ruling wrong," Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator on the gun safety legislation, said in an interview.

"I'm deeply worried about the court's willingness to take away from elected bodies the ability to protect our constituents and that has real grave implications for the safety of our country," said Murphy, whose home state of Connecticut, where 26 people were killed in a 2012 shooting at an elementary school.

Conservatives defend a broad reading of the Second Amendment, which they say limits most new restrictions on gun purchases.

The Senate's 80-page Bipartisan Safer Communities Act would encourage states to keep guns out of the hands of those deemed to be dangerous and tighten background checks for would-be gun buyers convicted of domestic violence or significant crimes as juveniles.

More than 20,800 people have been killed in gun violence in the United States in 2022, including through homicide and suicide, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit research group.

'MONUMENTAL WIN'

The Supreme Court ruling, authored by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, declared that the Constitution protects "an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home."

"This is a monumental win for NRA members and for gun owners across the country," said Jason Ouimet, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, in a statement.

"This ruling opens the door to rightly change the law in the seven remaining states that still don't recognize the right to carry a firearm for personal protection."

In the Senate, Republican backers of the new gun safety bill said that the measure does not erode the rights of law-abiding gun owners, who are among their most ardent constituents.

"It does not so much as touch the rights of the overwhelming majority of American gun owners, who are law-abiding citizens of sound mind," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said, who backs the legislation.

The bill provides funding to help states adopt "red flag" laws to keep firearms out of the hands of those deemed a danger to themselves or others. It would also fund alternative intervention measures in state where red flag laws are opposed and provide for enhanced school security.

It closes the "boyfriend loophole" by denying gun purchases to those convicted of abusing intimate partners in dating relationships, although if they have no further convictions or penalties they will be allowed to purchase again.

It also allows states to add juvenile criminal and mental health records to national background check databases.

Senator John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator on the bill, was booed last week as he discussed its contents during a speech before a Republican Party convention in his home state of Texas.

SOURCE: Reuters

Pakistan

Pakistan working closely with int’l organizations to address challenges stemming from illicit drugs: PM

"We must work collectively to protect young people from the risks of drug abuse and safeguard their health and wellbeing."

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Pakistan working closely with int’l organizations to address challenges stemming from illicit drugs: PM

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is working closely with international organizations to address the challenges stemming from illicit drugs.  

In a message on the occasion of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, being observed today, he said Pakistan is a signatory to all global conventions and protocols related to the prevention of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

The Prime Minister said the easy availability of synthetic drugs pose dangers to the general public, especially the youth, which make up more than sixty percent of Pakistan's population.

He said we must work collectively to protect young people from the risks of drug abuse and safeguard their health and wellbeing.

The Prime Minister said preventing drug use before it begins is the most cost-effective, common-sense approach to promote safe and healthy communities.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is being observed today across the globe to prevent drug abuse and raise awareness about the alarming threats it poses to society, especially the youth.

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World Drug Day being observed today

This year's theme was to curb the spread of misinformation on the topic and to encourage the exchange of facts related to drugs.

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World Drug Day being observed today

Islamabad: The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking or World Drug Day was marked on June 26 every year around the globe with an aim to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse.

As in other parts of the globe like every year, World Drug Day would also be marked in Pakistan on Sunday to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.

This day was supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world. The aim of celebrating World Drug Day was to highlight the harmful effects of drugs.

The focus this year was to curb the spread of misinformation on the topic and to encourage the exchange of facts related to drugs.

Drug trafficking was a growing crime in Pakistan and police and the Ministry of Narcotics and anti-narcotics forces were cracking down on it on a daily basis.

Various events like motor car and bike rallies, drug awareness stage dramas and drug awareness walks, banners, steamers, panaflexes at Airports, Railway Stations, Bus Addas, Roads, Chowks, Traffic Signals and other important public places were being held all over the country, to mark the day.

He said in addition to these awareness activities, ANF also arranged display of banners, steamers, panaflexes at Airports, Railway Stations, Bus Addas, Roads, Chowks, Traffic Signals and other important public places.

Further, Awareness Video messages have also been played on LEDs installed at Airports, Railway Stations, important chowks, Bus Addas, Shopping Malls and other prominent places throughout the country.

Similarly, the Ministry of Narcotics Control and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Pakistan has also organized walk and cycling rally to commemorate the World Drug Day on Sunday here at Gulshan e Fatima Park, Margalla Road.

The event would be attended by Dr Jeremy Milsom Country Representative UNODC and DG Anti Narcotics Force (ANF).

The event would be attended by counterparts, senior government officials, the international community, students from schools, colleges, civil society and the general public.

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Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Four major candidates compete for the KP assembly seat

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Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Swat: The polling process is underway for the byelection in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituency of PK-7 in Swat.

The seat, which fell vacant after the demise of ANP MPA Waqar Khan, is being contested by four major candidates: Hussain Ahmed from ANP, Fazal Mullah from PTI, and two independent candidates.

A total of 183,308 registered voters in the constituency are expected to exercise their electoral rights, including 102,088 male and 91,220 female voters.

The ECP completed its arrangements Saturday evening, setting up 124 polling stations with 308 booths.

The polling started without any delays Sunday morning and will continue until 5 pm.

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