Senate will take critical vote to advance bipartisan gun bill toward final passage

The Senate is poised to take a critical vote on Thursday to advance a major bipartisan gun safety bill toward final passage. The vote is expected to succeed with Republican support, putting the legislation on a path to pass the Senate as soon as this week.

The bipartisan gun deal represents the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades. It includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

It also makes significant changes to the process when someone ages 18 to 21 goes to buy a firearm and closes the so-called boyfriend loophole, a victory for Democrats, who have long fought for that.

The package amounts to the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expired 10-year assault weapons ban of 1994 -- though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.