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US steps for first gun control bill, after thousands of causalities 

However, two-thirds of Senate Republicans opposed the legislation, and all of those who backed it – except for Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Indiana’s Todd Young – will not face voters in November this year or have announced their intention not to seek re-election.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is widely tipped to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, condemned the bill as an attempt to “try to disarm law-abiding citizens rather than take serious measures to protect our children”.

Gun safety group March For Our Lives – founded by survivors of the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida – welcomed the advancement of the bill.

“We know there’s A LOT more work to be done to end this epidemic. But a lot of hard work got us to tonight. We refuse to quit or be silenced. Ending gun violence is the fight of our lifetime,” the group tweeted.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has opposed the bill, and argued that it will not stop the violence.

Why is gun control such a big deal?
There are an estimated 393 million firearms currently in the US.

It has the highest rate of firearms deaths among the world’s wealthy nations – more than 20,900 people have been killed in gun violence in the US this year, including through homicide and suicide, according to Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit research group.

But it is also a country where many cherish gun rights that are protected by the Constitution’s Second Amendment to “keep and bear arms”.

The last significant federal gun control legislation was passed in 1994, banning the manufacture for civilian use of assault rifles and large capacity magazines – but it expired a decade later.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law restricting who can legally carry a gun – effectively expanding gun rights.

Although polls indicate a majority of Americans support gun control efforts, many Republican senators represent states with large pro-gun communities.

And the Republican voters whose support they need to win primary elections – the selection process within each party – are even more opposed to reform.

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