LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Both Arkansas senators voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which is an effort between Democrats and Republicans to enact new gun safety measures following a string of mass shootings.
The Senate bill, which was backed by 48 Democrats, 14 Republicans, and two independents, would be the biggest step forward in nearly three decades to address firearm laws in the United States.
A total of 34 Republicans opposed the bill in its first procedural step, including Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman of Arkansas.
The 80-page bill would enhance background checks, help states implement "red flag" laws, closes the "boyfriend loophole," and other measures designed to address gun violence.
It would also provide millions in funding for expanding mental health resources for communities and gives schools more funds for safety measures.
Cotton claimed in a statement that the bill "won't stop the violent shootings by deranged criminals" and would instead "restrict the freedoms of law-abiding Americans."
"Stopping gun violence starts with more funding for police and tougher sentences for the criminals who violate gun laws—not taking away due process from law-abiding gun owners," Cotton said.
The bill has received support from both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The negotiations between the two political parties began after the Uvalde elementary school shooting where 19 children and two teachers died and the Buffalo grocery store shooting where the gunman killed 10 Black people.