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Tags: gun safety bill | background checks | red flag | behavioral health | domestic violence | school safety

What's in, and What's out, of the Senate's Gun Safety Bill

illustration featuring two heads with the words Gun Control on them
(Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 21 June 2022 08:19 PM EDT

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators released the text of the first major gun safety legislation in decades on Tuesday, following a string of recent high-profile mass shootings.

Below are some highlights of what is and what is not covered by the proposed legislation.

IN: STATE CRISIS INTERVENTION SUPPORT

The bill would provide $750 million to states and Native American tribes to create and administer "red flag" measures intended to ensure weapons are kept out of the hands of people whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others. These measures would be consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections.

OUT: ASSAULT-WEAPONS BAN

During an impassioned June 2 speech, Democratic President Joe Biden urged Congress to re-impose the federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, which prohibited the manufacture, transfer and possession of semi-automatic assault-style weapons and the transfer and possession of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices. That measure faced staunch opposition from Republicans in Congress.

IN: ENHANCED REVIEW PROCESS FOR BUYERS UNDER 21

The legislation will require an investigative period to review the juvenile criminal and mental health records for gun buyers under 21 years of age, giving three days for an initial check and an additional seven days to look into potential disqualifying records. This would include checks with state databases and local law enforcement.

OUT: HIGHER AGE REQUIREMENT TO BUY SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES

The bill will not create a provision to raise the age for buying a semiautomatic rifle to 21 nationwide. Currently the minimum age to buy is 18. Federal law already prohibits anyone younger than 21 legally buying a handgun.

IN: PENALTIES FOR 'STRAW PURCHASES'

The bill cracks down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns. A straw purchase occurs when a person buys a weapon for someone who is not legally allowed to buy one. This would become a federal offense under the new law.

OUT: FEDERAL BACKGROUND CHECK EXPANSION

The bill does not include proposals to expand federal background checks to buy a weapon from three to 10 days. It also does not close a loophole in federal law that allows many sales over the internet and at gun shows to go unchecked.

IN: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, TELEHEALTH INVESTMENTS

The bill would expand community behavioral health center models and makes investments to increase mental health and suicide prevention program access. It also would help fund crisis and trauma intervention and recovery services and makes investments in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.

OUT: REPEAL OF LIABILITY SHIELD

The bill does not amend or repeal a federal liability shield that protects gun manufacturers from being sued for violence carried out by people carrying, and shooting, their guns.

IN: CLARIFICATION ON DEFINITION OF LICENSED DEALER

The legislation clarifies the definition of a federally licensed firearms dealer and cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.

IN: PROTECTIONS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Those who are convicted of domestic violence crimes and face domestic violence restraining orders would be subject to criminal background checks for gun purchases under the new law. The "boyfriend loophole," a sticking point in negotiations, would be closed by adding people convicted of domestic abuse in dating relationships to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for five years, at which point they would be removed pending no further prohibited crimes or similar offenses.

IN: SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH AND SUPPORT SERVICES FUNDING

The legislation allocates funding to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs.

IN: SCHOOL SAFETY RESOURCE FUNDING

Federal funds would go to programs that help primary and secondary schools create safety measures, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.

© 2022 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators released the text of the first major gun safety legislation in decades on Tuesday, following a string of recent high-profile mass shootings.
gun safety bill, background checks, red flag, behavioral health, domestic violence, school safety
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2022-19-21
Tuesday, 21 June 2022 08:19 PM
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