The U.S. Senate passed legislation containing permanent provisions by Senator Jon Tester to prevent the U.S. Justice Department from establishing a national gun registry and to prohibit it from retaining information gained through instant background checks about legal gun purchases.Tester, in June, asked his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee to consider the gun provisions, which were included in a combined appropriations bill that passed the Senate Thursday with a bipartisan vote of 70-to-30.Earlier this week, the National Rifle Association expressed its support for the legislation.

The bill prevents the establishment of a national gun registry by prohibiting the Justice Department from consolidating firearms sales records.  It also prohibits funding for “gun walking” operations where U.S. law enforcement agents knowingly transfer firearms to gun-smugglers in order to track weapons and drug cartels.  The Senate is investigating one such controversial operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), known as “Fast and Furious.”

The measure now goes to the president.  He is expected to sign the bill into law.