Joe Biden signs landmark gun safety bill into law, saying it will ‘save a lot of lives’

Bipartisan Safer Communities Act marks first major gun reform bill in three decades

Biden signs historic gun bill into law on 'monumental day' for US
Leer en Español

President Joe Biden signed into law the first major piece of federal gun reform legislation in three decades on Saturday morning, saying it would “save a lot of lives.”

The historic bill, which includes provisions to help states keep guns out of the hands of those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, was passed in the Senate in a late-night vote on Thursday following bipartisan talks between Democrats and Republicans, including minority leader Mitch McConnell. It passed in the House by 234-193, including14Republicans voting with Democrats.

"This is a monumental day," Mr Biden said at the White House on 25 June.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes a provision to expand federal background checks so that firearms retailers will be obliged to examine the state and local juvenile and mental health records of prospective customers aged 18 to 20.

It also partially closes a so-called “boyfriend” loophole that adds “serious” dating partners who are convicted of domestic abuse to a list of offenders who would not be able to access firearms, and adds their names to the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System.

The law previously only applied to domestic violence offenders who are married, live with, or have a child with a survivor.

The legislation also funds programmes to encourage states to adopt so-called “red flag laws” that allow law enforcement to obtain court orders to prevent a person who might pose a threat to themselves or others from obtaining a firearm.

The bill, marking the largest gun reform package in Congress since the expiration of an assault-weapons ban in 2004, falls short of what the president and Democrats have demanded in recent decades to curb the proliferation of high-powered weapons in the wake of daily mass shootings and school massacres.

Members of Congress negotiated the terms of the bill following the racist killings of 10 Black people inside a supermarket in Buffalo, New York and the massacre of 19 schoolchildren and two fourth-grade teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives,” the president said. “Today, we say more than ‘enough.’ ... This time, when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in