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Powerful US gun lobby group opposes bipartisan Senate gun safety bill

File photo of the National Riffle Association of America (NRA) headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo by AFP)

The US National Rifle Association (NRA) has announced that it opposes gun safety reforms proposed by a bipartisan group of senators, saying the new legislation will put “unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom.”

The powerful gun lobby said in a statement on Tuesday said it will back proposed legislation that will improve school safety, promote mental health services and help reduce violence.

“We will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level,” the association said in its statement. “It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners.”

The association also noted that the bill can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases and introduce gun control measures implemented by local and state governments, and went on to claim that the legislation will restrict “our constitutional freedoms.”

“Decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Heller and McDonald cases make clear that the Second Amendment is an individual constitutional freedom,” the association concluded in its statement. “We will always fight for those freedoms – and the fundamental values we have defended for over 150 years.”

The NRA’s remarks come after a week following a bipartisan group of US senators announced a framework agreement on new gun legislation. The group of 20 Democratic and Republican lawmakers struck a gun safety framework that could put Congress on a path to eventually pass gun reforms to thwart more mass shootings in the country.

The Senate plans to vote on the bipartisan gun safety legislation at the end of this week.

The proposed legislation includes funding for school safety resources, expanded background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, investments in children and ​​family mental health services and incentives for states to implement “red flag’ laws. 

The proposal comes as a response to the recent string of mass shootings in the US. In mid-May, a racist attack killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The mass shooting was followed by the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, which killed 19 students and two teachers.

More than 45,000 people were killed by gun violence in the United States last year, up from 43,671 in 2020 and 39,581 in 2019, according to FBI data.

Thousands of protesters rallied this month against gun violence in cities across the United States.

Protesters turned out for more than 450 rallies nationwide, with the largest gathering taking place in Washington, DC.

The demonstrations were organized by March for Our Lives, the political movement created by students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

The protesters called for federal legislation to limit the use of military-style weapons and many vowed to fight the inaction at the polls.

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