How the Senate broke through 30 years of gridlock to reform gun laws

Except for a relatively modest fix to the federal background check system in 2018, Congress had not passed meaningful legislation to curb gun violence in nearly 30 years when an 18-year-old gunman entered a school in Uvalde, Texas, and killed 19 children and two teachers.


It was the worst school shooting since the massacre of 20 kids and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Lawmakers had made almost no progress in the decade since on restricting access to firearms or addressing gun violence.


Yet senators defied the odds this month by putting together a bipartisan bill that passed the Senate Thursday with 65 votes, a large bipartisan majority, less than five months before a hotly contested election. The House passed the bill on Friday and President Biden signed it into law Saturday.