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What You Need to Know About the Spending Bill that Just Passed the Senate as it Relates to Gun Safety


WASHINGTON — Today, the Senate passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 that includes some key victories for gun safety — but also includes cuts to ATF’s budget and a measure that threatens to undermine our background check system and put some veterans at risk.

“When it comes to gun safety, this spending bill is a mixed bag. We’re grateful to those lawmakers who pushed through language to keep undetectable firearms off the street and support community violence intervention programs, but we’re gravely concerned about measures that play right into the hands of the gun lobby,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The proposed cuts to ATF’s budget threaten public safety, and the bill also includes a rider that will endanger the lives of at-risk veterans. We urge Congress to listen to the clear majority of Americans who are demanding common-sense solutions to gun violence that will keep our communities safe.”

Here’s what you need to know about the spending bill

The good:

  • Gun sense legislators successfully fought to reauthorize the Undetectable Firearms Act through March 8, 2031.
    • The Undetectable Firearms Act prohibits the possession, manufacture, and sale of any firearm that is undetectable by X-ray machines and metal detectors.
  • The bill includes $50 million for the DOJ’s Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative, which helps fund programs that provide evidence- and community-informed, comprehensive support to individuals who are at greatest risk of gun violence.
    • These programs are shown to reduce gunshot woundings and deaths in the communities most impacted by gun violence. To date, 41 states also dedicate state funds to these programs. 

The bad:

  • The spending bill slashes nearly $50 million from  ATF’s budget, undermining the nation’s leading law enforcement agency when it comes to protecting the public from gun violence and solving gun crimes.
    • These cuts won’t just hurt ATF, but also ATF’s state and local law enforcement partners who rely on ATF to help keep their communities safe.
    • Gun extremists in the House have been set on defunding ATF, FBI, and DOJ – a move that would embolden criminals and endanger our communities.
  • A gun rider to the bill threatens to undermine the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from continuing its decades-long practice of reporting veterans determined by the VA to be mentally incompetent due to injury or disease, including serious diagnoses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
    • Under longstanding federal law and regulations, these veterans are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms, and reporting to them NICS is the only way to ensure the FBI knows that these veterans are prohibited.
    • This language was originally approved hours before an Army Reservist — who had shown clear warning signs — used an AR-style semi-automatic rifle to shoot and kill 18 people and wound 13 others.
    • The devastating rise of firearm suicide among veterans isn’t new, but it’s made all the worse by easy access to guns.
    • A new report from Everytown shows that seven out of 10 veteran suicides are by gun, making the proportion of veteran suicides that are with a gun the highest it has been in over 20 years. From 2002 to 2021, nearly 87,000 veterans died by gun suicide – 16 times the number of service members killed in action over the same period.

To speak with an Everytown expert, please contact [email protected].