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House approves Safer Communities Act: Bill goes to Biden for signature

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Not all the news from D.C. on Friday was awful news. The U.S. House voted 234-193 to pass the Safer Communities Act, the first meaningful gun safety legislation to see the light of day in 30 years.

The Senate had already voted Thursday night to pass the legislation, which now goes to President Biden for his signature.

Details: Safer Communities Act

  • Requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement
  • Clarifies the definition of a “federally licensed firearms dealer” and cracks down on dealers who illegally evade licensing requirements
  • Incentivizes states to adopt “red flag laws” to keep guns out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others, consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections
  • Protects victims of domestic violence by making sure that domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders are included in National Instant Criminal Background Check System
  • Increases penalties for “straw purchasing” and gun trafficking
  • Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs and school based mental health services
  • Makes major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery
  • Invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around schools, support school violence prevention efforts, and provide training to school personnel and students

Comments

Seventh District Democrat Abigail Spanberger 

“I cast this vote today with victims of gun violence from the Seventh District on my mind. In the wake of the horrific massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde, near-constant news reports of mass shootings across the country, and gun violence at home in our communities, I have heard from countless Virginians who want us to take concrete actions. The people I serve are asking us to step up and protect them, their children, and all of our communities from gun violence.

“When a gun falls in to the wrong hands, it can be deadly — for those closest to them, complete strangers, and the law enforcement officers who have to respond to violent situations. By moving forward a bipartisan agreement that includes more comprehensive background checks, strengthens incentives for states to adopt “red flag laws,” and closes the “boyfriend loophole” which allows convicted domestic abusers to purchase a firearm, we are taking real actions that would help protect American families, students, and law enforcement alike.

“These commonsense measures are long overdue. I am proud that my colleagues in the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle are responding to the outcries from the communities we represent. Today, we moved this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

Fourth District Democrat Donald McEachin

“Every day, gun violence touches our communities, and we see the devastating impacts in the lives of American families. Gun violence is a public health crisis, and it demands immediate action. Today, I am voting in support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to take an important step to curb gun violence, protect our children, and help save lives.

“I am proud to vote in support of this crucial legislation and help send it to President Biden’s desk for signature. While there is more we must do to address the gun violence epidemic, this legislation represents meaningful, bipartisan progress and an important step forward. I will continue my efforts to pass practical policy solutions that reduce gun violence and protect our communities.”

Second District Democrat Elaine Luria

“Congress is acting to keep our children and our communities safe, and I was proud to support this bipartisan, commonsense legislation today. We must strike the right balance between responsible gun ownership and safety, and this legislation to expand background checks and crack down on illegal purchases is the first step to ending gun violence.”

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