President Joe Biden has signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades. The bipartisan compromise seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.
“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives,” Biden said just before signing the measure.
“Today, we say more than enough. We say more than enough,” he added. “At a time when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential.”
The legislation, which passed the House 234-193 Friday night following Senate approval Thursday
The House gave final approval Friday, following Senate passage Thursday, and Biden acted just before leaving Washington for two world leader summits in Europe.
Biden’s action also comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision saying there is a constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense, striking down a New York law that restricted concealed carry.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the decision “reckless” and “reprehensible.”
Read Full Statement By President Joe Biden Below:
This morning, I signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law. Time is of the essence. Lives will be saved.
I’ve been at this work for a long, long time. I know how hard it is, and I know what it takes to get it done. I was there the last time this nation passed meaningful gun safety laws. And I’m here today for the most significant law to be passed since then — in the last 30 years.
I’d like to thank the leaders and members of the House and Senate for working together to get this done. I especially want to thank the families that Jill and I sat with for hours on end across the country. They lost their child, their husband, their wife to an epidemic of gun violence. Nothing is going to fill that void in their hearts, but they led the way so other families will not have the experience and the pain and trauma that they had to live through.
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 — their message to us was: “Do something.”
Well, today, we did.
While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives. It funds crisis intervention, including red-flag laws. It keeps guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and to others. And it finally closes what is known as the “boyfriend loophole.”
It requires young people ages 18 to 21 to undergo enhanced background checks. It includes the first-ever federal law that makes gun trafficking and straw purchases distinct federal crimes for the first time. It clarifies who needs to register as a federally licensed gun dealer and run background checks before selling a single weapon. It also provides historic funding to address the youth mental health crisis in this country, especially the trauma experienced by the survivors of this gun violence.
I know there’s much more work to do, and I’m never going to give up. But this is a monumental day. God bless us with the strength to continue to work to get the work that’s left undone done, and the lives lost that will be an inspiration for us to do more.