After a couple of delays in negotiations, President Biden has signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill into law, according to NPR. This piece of legislation in the wake of the traffic mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas is the first piece of comprehensive gun violence legislation passed by Congress since the assault weapons ban of 1994 (which has since expired).
Biden placed his support behind the law, despite realizing all the provisions his administration wanted would not get through because the required ten Senate Republicans wouldn’t support them. This includes an assault weapon and high-capacity magazines ban and raising the gun purchase age from 18 to 21.
“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives,” Biden said just before signing the measure. “Today, we say more than enough. We say more than enough,” he added. “At a time when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential.”
“If we can reach compromise on guns, we ought to be able to reach a compromise on other critical issues, from veterans’ health care to cutting edge American innovation and so much more. I know there’s much more work to do, and I’m never going to give up, but this is a monumental day.”
After the Senate approved the bill on Thursday night, the House passed the safety bill the following day 234-193. 14 Republicans voted yes. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes $750 million for states to implement “red flag” programs that temporarily stop individuals from purchasing a firearm by court order if they are deemed a danger to themselves and others.
It also closes the “boyfriend loophole” that will not allow guns for anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime against someone they have a “continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” The only potential caveats to this are that the law is not retroactive, and after five years, the person in question would have their gun rights restored if they don’t commit any crimes.
It also expands background checks on people between 18 and 21 seeking to buy a gun by including juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. President Biden announced he would host members of Congress who supported the landmark gun safety legislation and the families who are the victims of gun violence at a White House event on July 11th.