On Saturday, former vice president Joe Biden signed the unconstitutional Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, the first major federal gun reform bill in 30 years.
The bipartisan gun control bill, known as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, was written in response to the shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, and sped through a usually slow-moving Congress.
“Time is of the essence. Lives will be saved,” Biden said in an address to the nation. “From Columbine to Sandy Hook to Charleston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Atlanta, Buffalo, Uvalde and for the shootings that happen every day in the streets. How many times have you heard that, ‘Just do something, for God’s sake just do something?’
“Today, we did.”
The House passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act on June 24 by a 234-193. 14 Republicans crossed party lines just one day after the Senate passed the legislation in a 65-33 vote on June 23.
The Republican support to avoid a filibuster will cost the taxpayer $13 billion.
- $750 million in funding for states to implement and improve Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, commonly known as red flag laws, or other efforts like mental health courts, drug courts, or veterans courts. Red flag laws give judges leeway to temporarily seize guns from people who may be a threat to themselves or others at the request of family members or law enforcement.
- $250 million for community-based violence intervention. The funding could be a boon for street outreach teams, hospital-based violence prevention initiatives, Cure Violence programs, and other efforts to mediate conflicts before they turn violent.
- A $1 billion investment in mental health, including community behavioral health centers, telehealth services, suicide prevention, school-based trauma, and mental health support, and provider training.
- Clarification on who needs to seek a Federal Firearms License before selling guns. Longstanding ambiguity has allowed many gun sellers — like those who sell at gun shows and their online analogs — to avoid licensing and thus avoid initiating background checks. The change could subject some more gun buyers to background checks.
- An enhanced background check process for gun buyers between ages 18 and 21, would include calls to state and local law enforcement and a search of state mental health and juvenile records. The legislation gives federal law enforcement three to 10 days to finish the enhanced check before a dealer can hand over a gun.
- A federal statute prohibiting gun trafficking and straw purchases, which should give federal law enforcement and prosecutors more leeway to target the illicit trade of firearms across state lines. Currently, there isn’t a federal statute that explicitly prohibits gun trafficking or purchasing a firearm on behalf of someone else.
- More than $2 billion in funding for schools, including more than $500 million for school-based mental health services, $500 million for mental health staff and counselors, and $300 million for safety measures and violence prevention efforts.
One of the biggest obstacles in negotiations for this unconstitutional measure, which they resolved, was the infamous “boyfriend loophole”.
This is part of a law that prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun. That law currently only applies to people who are married to, living with or have a child with the victim.
Under current federal legislation, Michigan State University criminal justice professor April M. Zeoli explains intimate partner relationships are defined only as those in which two people are or were married, live or lived together as a couple, or have a child together.
People who were in a dating relationship are largely excluded from this definition.
This is the “boyfriend loophole.”
After Biden signed the bill a reporter asked whether he believed the Supreme Court was “broken,” in the wake of its decision to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade decision that protected women’s rights to abortion on Friday.
“I think the Supreme Court has made some terrible decisions,” he said.
Ironically, the Supreme Court’s decision on New York’s gun laws being unconstitutional will likely lead to this latest federal law being seen as unconstitutional, as well.