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President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law on June 25, 2022. The legislation aims to stop dangerous people from obtaining firearms and to provide much-needed funds to improve the nation's mental health system. It is the most significant gun control regulation approved by the US Congress since the now-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.
The law addresses several areas of concern, including the "boyfriend loophole." Under current federal law, those convicted of domestic violence are prohibited from purchasing a firearm only if they are living with, married to, or have a child with their partner. The new provision will prevent a person found guilty of abusing a current or former dating partner from buying a gun. It also calls for more in-depth background checks on gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21.
States will also receive funding to create crisis intervention programs. The "red flag" law will enable law enforcement officers to petition the court to confiscate guns from individuals believed to be a threat to themselves or others. An additional $15 billion will be spent on improving mental health services and increasing security in schools.
The legislation falls short of the stringent gun control measures — such as assault weapon bans and magazine capacity restrictions — President Biden had hoped for. But both lawmakers and gun safety advocates agree that the bipartisan agreement is a step in the right direction toward saving innocent lives.
Resources: Whitehouse.gov, CNN.com, politico.com, NPR.com, Independent.Co.UK