Biden Signs Landmark Gun Safety Measure

'Lives will be saved'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2022 1:01 PM CDT
Updated Jun 25, 2022 8:30 AM CDT
Gun Safety Measure Clears Congress
Pistols sit on display at a gun show in this file photo.   (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

(Newser) Update: President Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. "Lives will be saved," Biden said at the White House, per the AP. Citing the families of shooting victims, the president said, "Their message to us was to do something. Well, today, we did." Biden acted just before leaving Washington for two summits in Europe. The legislation will toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders, and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged to be dangerous. Our original story from Friday follows:

Onto the president's desk: The House sent President Biden the most wide-ranging gun violence bill Congress has passed in three decades on Friday, per the AP. The Democratic-led chamber approved the legislation on a mostly party-line 234-193 vote, capping a spurt of action prompted by voters' revulsion over last month’s mass shootings in New York and Texas. The night before, the Senate approved it by a bipartisan 65-33 margin, with 15 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting a package that senators from both parties had crafted. Details of the $13 billion bill:

  • The bill would make the local juvenile records of people age 18 to 20 available during required federal background checks when they attempt to buy guns. Those examinations, currently limited to three days, would last up to a maximum of 10 days to give federal and local officials time to search records.
  • People convicted of domestic abuse who are current or former romantic partners of the victim would be prohibited from acquiring firearms, closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole."
  • There would be money to help states enforce red flag laws.
  • The measure expands the use of background checks by rewriting the definition of the federally licensed gun dealers required to conduct them. Penalties for gun trafficking are strengthened, billions of dollars are provided for behavioral health clinics and school mental health programs, and there's money for school safety initiatives, though not for personnel to use a “dangerous weapon."
(But gun control advocates got some bad news this week, too.)

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