June 23, 2022
A bipartisan group of Senators released on Tuesday the text of a bill to combat gun violence, the "Bipartisan Safer Communities Act". The legislation would include state funding to implement "red flag" laws and enhanced background checks.
The Senate voted in favor of formally beginning debate on the legislation with 64 voting in favor and 34 voting against it. As reported on nbcnews.com, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated that he hopes the bill will be passed by the legislative body this week, before a scheduled two-week July 4th recess.
Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), who were part of the group that negotiated on the legislation, released a statement that read, "Today, we finalized bipartisan, commonsense legislation to protect America's children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country. Our legislation will save lives and will not infringe on any law-abiding American's Second Amendment rights. We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense legislation into law."
The "Bipartisan Safer Communities Act" would provide funding for states to implement "red flag" laws, or invest in other crisis prevention programs designed to prevent individuals in crisis from resorting to violence. Additionally, it would require an investigative period to examine juvenile and mental health records for individuals under the age of 21 who are attempting to purchase firearms.
The legislation would also close what is referred to as the "boyfriend loophole". Currently, people convicted of domestic violence, or who are subject to a domestic violence restraining order, cannot purchase firearms under the law. However, this is the case only if an abuser is a spouse, ex-spouse, co-parent, or someone else with whom the victim has lived. This leaves open the possibility of domestic abusers who do not fall into any of the above categories of relationships with their victims to be able to purchase firearms, leaving their victims at risk.
The legislation will soon be up for a vote in the Senate, where it must pass the threshold of 60 votes to move forward. From there, it would move to the U.S. House of Representatives, and then to the President's desk to be signed into law.