Montana senators split on gun violence bill

Montana’s senators split Thursday evening on a bipartisan bill to address mass shootings by tightening gun laws while expanding mental health programs and school security.

The bill, which easily passed Thursday night with a filibuster-proof 65 vote majority, became the most supported attempt to curb gun violence since the 1993 passage of The Brady Bill, which established criminal background checks for gun buyers. Then and now, Montana’s Democratic and Republican lawmakers split on the issue.

In a vote to end debate and proceed to passage of the “Bipartisan Safe Communities Act,” Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, was among the 50 Democrats and 15 Republicans supporting debate on the bill, while Republican Steve Daines was among the 33 Republicans opposed. The bill now heads to the House for a Friday vote.

The legislation comes on the heels of the May 24 massacre of 19 elementary school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas and also a racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, on May 14 in which 10 people, all Black, were killed.

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In both instances, the shooters were 18-year-old men, who legally purchased semi automatic AR-15-style rifles used

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