The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Is the First Major Gun Safety Legislation in a Generation

The bill enhances background checks and closes the "boyfriend loophole" but does not ban any weapons.

Texas House Committee Holds Hearing On Uvalde School Shooting
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Parents, survivors, and gun safety advocates called for action in lieu of thoughts and prayers after two mass shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo and an elementary school in Uvalde last month. The Uvalde mayor announced that Robb Elementary will be demolished as a way for the town to move forward, but it seems that the federal government is finally ready to remedy trauma on a larger scale rather than just erase or ignore it after each mass shooting.

The Senate passed federal legislation to curb gun violence for the first time since the assault weapon ban passed in 1994—which expired without renewal in 2004.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, introduced by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), will:

  • Enhance background checks. Gun purchasers under the age of 21 will undergo a more extensive background check and encourages states to review juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The NICS has three days to review records and an additional seven days if something gets flagged.
  • Allocate funding for red flag laws. The bill gives $750 million in aid for states to enact red flag laws. These laws allow loved ones and law enforcement to temporarily take firearms away from someone deemed to be in crisis.
  • Close the "boyfriend loophole." People convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against spouses, partners they shared children with, or partners they lived with are already prohibited from purchasing firearms under federal law. But these statutes did not include romantic or intimate partners who were convicted of domestic abuse crimes against someone they were not married to or share children with. This bill changes that, but it is not retroactive. What's more, if individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes are not convicted of any other crime, they may restore their gun rights.
  • Specifies background check protocols for gun sellers. Some businesses primarily sell guns at gun shows and online but haven't had to register as a Federally Licensed Firearm Dealer, which has gotten them out of running background checks. This bill specifies when must register and perform background checks.
  • Firmer gun trafficking restrictions. Under the bill, it will be easier to crack down on people purchasing guns for people who aren't permitted to have them.
  • Increased funding for prevention programs. The bill allocates money for states to spend on violence intervention and mental health programs.

Notably, the bill fails to ban assault weapons like the AR-15 used to kill 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The mayor of Uvalde announced the school would be demolished but did not give a timeline.

"You can never ask a child to go back or a teacher to go back in that school ever," said Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin during a town council meeting.

Text BOLD to 644-33 to call your senators to encourage them to make changes for a safer world for us and our children.

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