Biden signs bipartisan gun reform bill into law, one of the most significant pieces of federal firearms legislation in decades
Joe Bidenon Saturday signed into law the the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
- The bill is the most significant
gun reformlegislation to pass on Capitol Hill since the 1990s.
President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law the critical gun safety bill known as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, one of the most significant pieces of federal firearms legislation since the 1990s.
"Time is of the essence," Biden said as spoke at the White House alongside first lady Jill Biden. "Lives will be saved."
The president remarked on the importance of the legislation, alluding to the sense of urgency he has regarding mass shootings, which have become an increasingly prevalent part of American life in recent years.
"Today, we say more than enough. We say more than enough," he said. "At a time when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential."
In response to deadly mass shootings at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, lawmakers were under immense pressure to pass substantial legislation to address gun violence.
A bipartisan group of senators led by Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, one of the most high-profile supports of gun control in Congress, and Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a conservative ex-state Attorney General, worked for weeks to craft a bill that includes millions of dollars for mental health services, school security, and crisis intervention programs.
In addition, the bill provides $750 million in funding for states to implement red flag laws — which generally allows law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from individuals who are a threat to themselves or others — while also enhancing background checks for younger gun buyers, among other items.
In the lower chamber, 14 Republicans voted with 220 Democrats to support the bill.
The bill does not ban assault rifles or dramatically expand gun background checks, two key proposals which were broadly popular among Democrats but overwhelmingly opposed by conservatives.
After Democrats shepherded a national assault weapons ban through Congress in 1994, they lost control of the House for 12 years, with many GOP-leaning voters turning against the party in the ensuing years due to the restrictions.
After the Senate passed the bill on Thursday, Biden — who represented Delaware in the upper chamber from 1973 to 2009 — remarked on what the critical legislative breakthrough meant for people who had waited decades for action.
"After 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities," he said on Thursday. "Families in Uvalde and Buffalo — and too many tragic shootings before — have demanded action. And tonight, we acted."
This story has been updated.
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