MONUMENTAL VICTORY FOR GUN SAFETY: Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Celebrate Gun Sense Champion President Joe Biden Signing Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Into Law
Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Drove Over One Million Calls & Messages to the U.S. Senate in Recent Weeks; Everytown Advised in the Drafting of The Legislation
WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements today after gun sense champion President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a historic gun safety, mental health, and school safety bill. The legislation, released by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), passed by strong bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House, and is the first major federal gun safety law to pass Congress in nearly 26 years. Everytown for Gun Safety advised in the drafting of the bill.
“Today, America takes a long-overdue step to address a public health crisis that has turned us into a nation of survivors, many of whom have turned their pain into action, and their actions into a movement,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “It’s fitting that President Biden, who has been taking on the gun lobby for decades, is the person to sign this lifesaving bill. This law should be a signal to every leader we entrust with the safety of our loved ones: The time has come to reach across the aisle and pass common-sense laws to keep guns out of dangerous hands.”
“Today is a red-letter day for the red-shirt army of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers who have put nearly a decade of effort organizing in all 50 states,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Over the last decade, the American people have moved towards gun safety, the politics of this issue have moved toward gun safety, and today our laws have also moved toward gun safety. This victory is proof that what we’re doing is working.”
“We have been waiting our entire lives for a day like today, rooted in the knowledge that a better future is possible — if our leaders take action,” said Jeannie She, a volunteer with Virginia Students Demand Action who has been personally impacted by gun violence, and a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “Too many of us — including myself and my family — have seen the pain of gun violence first-hand, whether in our schools or in our communities. We joined this movement knowing this epidemic is preventable, and this bill will do exactly that: prevent senseless tragedies.”
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act establishes an enhanced background check process for gun buyers under age 21, provides federal funding to implement state Red Flag laws, disarms domestic abusers by addressing the dating partner loophole, and funds community violence intervention programs, among other items.
- ENHANCING BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR BUYERS UNDER 21: Establishes an enhanced background check process and up to three business day investigative period for buyers under age 21 that will require checking with state law enforcement, local law enforcement, and either state or local courts before a sale proceeds. This strengthens current law that already stops a gun dealer from selling a handgun to a person under 21, and any gun to a person under 18.
- SUPPORTING STATE RED FLAG LAWS: Provides $750 million in much-needed funding over the next five years to support crisis intervention services, including the implementation of state Red Flag laws. The bill will also unlock a well-established existing funding stream to support the implementation of Red Flag laws.
- DISARMING DOMESTIC ABUSERS: Expands the current prohibition preventing convicted domestic abusers from buying or possessing guns to include not only those who abused their spouses, but also those who abused their dating partners.
- CLARIFYING WHO MUST RUN A BACKGROUND CHECK: Clarifies existing law on what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, so that it is clearer when unlicensed people selling guns to strangers are required to obtain a Federal Firearms License and run background checks on all sales.
- CRACKING DOWN ON GUN TRAFFICKING: Establishes the first ever federal laws against interstate gun trafficking and straw purchasing to stop the flow of illegal guns into cities.
- FUNDING COMMUNITY VIOLENCE INTERVENTION. The bill includes $250 million in dedicated funding for evidence-informed, community-based violence intervention programs that have been proven to reduce gun violence in the most affected communities using a public health approach.
- INVESTING IN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND ACCESS: Provides critical resources to expand community mental health services for children and families, fund school-based mental health and supportive services, invest in telehealth mental health services to expand access, and invest in community crisis intervention programs.
- PROVIDING SCHOOL SAFETY FUNDING: Funds evidence-based school violence prevention efforts, training, and the implementation of safety measures at primary and secondary schools.
Since the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, Everytown supporters, alongside gun violence survivors and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, have shown up in Washington, D.C., and in the home states of U.S. senators to call for action, sending over one million calls and messages to the U.S. Senate and dropping off tens of thousands of petitions at home state offices urging them to take bold action. In early June, Everytown and Moms Demand Action held more than 350 events across all 50 states for National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend. As Senators negotiated this bill earlier this month, Everytown and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action held two rallies on Capitol Hill. Everytown also launched a $400,000 ad campaign targeting key U.S. senators.