In the wake of several high-profile mass shootings in the U.S., a gun control bill has passed an initial hurdle in the Senate. The final vote was 64-34 in favor, with 14 Republicans voting in favor of the measure, including Iowa Senator Joni Ernst.

While Ernst voted 'yes' for the bill, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was a 'no' vote. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that Grassley says he didn't have enough time to review the 80-page bill and that he has some concerns with "safeguarding constitutional due process". Among the measures included is a closure of the so-called 'boyfriend loophole'. The bill bans convicted domestic abusers, including those in serious dating relationships, from buying a gun for at least five years.

The Gazette reports that the bill would also make juvenile and mental health records available during background checks when someone under the age of 21 buys a gun. It would also use federal funds to enact 'red flag laws' which temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. The bill also boosts school safety and spends billions more on mental health programs.

The Iowa Senator was one of the 14 Republicans who voted in favor of the bi-partisan bill saying, "This bill does not take away the rights of any law-abiding American." The Gazette reports that Ernst is a lifelong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and is a gun owner and combat veteran. But, she stated that "every American wants to keep our children and schools safe."


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