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Gun safety has dominated the US political space for decades, with no common ground or compromise in sight; however, on Saturday, in what looked like a significant bipartisan victory, US President Joe Biden signed the federal gun control legislation into law.
After concluding the signing event, which took place at the White House, the Biden stated, “God willing, it’s going to save a lot of lives.”
After recent mass shootings at a store in a primarily Black area in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the law was put together. On Tuesday, a group of negotiators from both parties introduced the legislation draft they had been working on in the Senate. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was introduced by Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, as well as Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
The House approved the gun safety bill on Friday by a vote of 234 to 193, with 14 Republicans joining Democrats. In a late-night vote on Thursday, the Senate approved the legislation.
Following his return from Europe, on July 11, the President will host members of Congress who backed the historic gun safety legislation in a White House ceremony to commemorate the new law with the families of gun violence victims. The President made the announcement during his speech on Saturday.
Although it does not ban any weapons and falls far short of what Biden and his party had advocated for, polls show that most Americans want to see the package represent the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the 10-year assault weapons ban of 1994 that was set to expire.
It contains $750 million to support state administration and program implementation of crisis intervention. The funds can be used for various crisis intervention programs, such as mental health courts, drug courts, and veterans courts, as well as for implementing and managing red flag programs, which can temporarily bar people in crisis from acquiring weapons through court orders.
The “boyfriend loophole” in domestic violence legislation, which for years prohibited people convicted of crimes against spouses, partners with whom they shared children, or partners with whom they cohabited from owning firearms, is closed by this bill. Older laws did not cover intimate relationships between people who do not share a home, a marriage, or children.
Anyone convicted of domestic violence against someone with whom they have a “continued serious relationship of a romantic or intimate character” will now be prohibited by law from owning a gun. The law does not apply in the past. However, provided they haven’t committed any other crimes in the last five years, it will permit those found guilty of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses to regain their gun privileges.
The measure establishes a new process for examining those data and offers incentives to states to encourage the inclusion of juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The legislation targets people who have previously avoided registering as federally registered weapons dealers but sell guns as their primary source of income. Additionally, money for mental health services and school safety is increased.
Biden thanked the relatives of the victims of gun violence he had met just before signing the legislation. In spite of their loss, he said their efforts had made a difference.