June 28, 2022

Rep. Neguse Applauds Passage of Safer Communities Act

President Biden signed into law the first major gun violence prevention legislation in nearly 30 years

Washington D.C. — Congressman Joe Neguse, Vice-Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, applauded President Biden’s decision over the weekend to sign into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Neguse voted in favor of during its final passage in the House of Representatives on Friday, June 24. The bill constitutes a historic package of reforms addressing the gun violence epidemic in America, after mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

“As policymakers, it is our job to act — and with the passage of this bill, we are taking an important step forward in our work to end gun violence,” said Congressman Neguse.  “The bipartisan agreement we passed today includes several important provisions that will save lives. For decades, our country has been devastated by the impacts of gun violence, and today we have finally made progress on enacting common steps to protect our communities. But our work does not end today, and we will continue to advocate each and every day for gun violence prevention measures that keep our communities safe.”

Specifically, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes: 

  • Support for state crisis intervention orders: providing resources to states and tribes so they can create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept 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.
  • Investments in child and family mental health services: expanding the community behavioral health center model nationally and spurring 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.
  • Protections for victims of domestic violence: issuing an order that includes convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), including those who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
  • Funding for school-based mental health support services: providing investments in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs and school-based mental health and wrap-around services.
  • Funding for school safety resources: providing investments in programs that help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts, and provide training to school personnel and students.
  • Clarification on the definition of a federally licensed firearms dealer: cracking down on criminals responsible for illegally evading licensing requirements.
  • Investments in telehealth: supporting programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
  • An under 21 enhanced review process: making it so buyers under 21 years of age, require an investigative period to review their juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement. 
  • Penalties for straw purchasing: cracking down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.

The passage of this bipartisan agreement comes less than a month after the House passed a broader set of reforms in the Protecting Our Kids Act, including a provision to ban the importation of assault weapons which Neguse led in response to the tragic mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado last year.

Read the bill’s text HERE.

Background

Neguse has made tackling the gun violence epidemic an urgent priority for his office, pushing for measures to promote public safety, keeping kids, families, and communities safe from the devastating incidents of gun violence. In April 2022, Neguse unveiled a legislative package to prevent mass shootings, expand worker safety, and increase mental health and trauma support for communities recovering from tragedy. The package – which consists of the STOP Violence Act, Safe Workplaces Act, Help for Healing Communities Act and the Prioritizing Resources for Victims of Firearm Violence Act – enhances security measures and training protocols to reduce the threat of gun violence at schools, grocery stores, movie theaters, and other community gathering facilities, learn more here. The Congressman also sponsored the End Gun Violence Act, legislation to prohibit individuals with violent misdemeanors from purchasing guns, and the Secure Background Checks Act, which following a 2019 incident in his state, expands the necessary background check process to the federal level. 

In 2021 and 2022, Neguse and Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), led a group of House Democrats in letters to President Biden requesting that he establish an Interagency Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention. Read more here. The letters also ask that the President appoint a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention to chair the Task Force – ensuring a whole government approach to tackling the epidemic. 

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