The US Senate passed a bipartisan gun control bill late on Thursday, setting up what is being hailed as the most significant federal gun control legislation for a vote in the House of Representatives.

The bill was passed in the Senate in a 65-33 vote that saw all 50 Senate Democrats vote in favour of the legislation, along with 15 Republicans including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had earlier voiced his support for the bill.

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With the Senate’s approval, the bill is now pending with the House, which, reports suggest, could vote on it as early as Friday, ahead of a two-week recess period.

While US President Joe Biden has suggested that he will sign the bill into law if it clears the House, that vote is expected to be a tight one, with House Republican leaders having urged their fellow party members to vote against the bill.

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If passed into law, however, the bill would become the most significant federal gun control legislation to be enacted in over a generation.

Prepared by a bipartisan group of Senators in the backdrop of a slate of deadly mass shootings in the US, the bill proposes several ways to curb potentially dangerous access to firearms.

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It proposes to tighten federal background check requirements for prospective gun buyers below 21 years of age, block gun sales to people convicted of domestic abuse within the last five years, and set up funding for ‘red flag laws‘ that empower judges to temporarily confiscate firearms from those deemed to be a danger to themselves or to others.

Additionally, the bill will also boost funding for mental health services and school safety programmes, which are priorities for the Republicans backing the bill.