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Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Will Incentivize States To Create Red Flag Laws, Invest In Mental Health And Community-Based Solutions To Gun Violence, Close The ‘Boyfriend Loophole’, Boost Funding For Schools, Enhance Background Checks For Those Under 21, And More

Schumer: Now For The First Time In Decades, Congress Has Passed Meaningful Gun Safety Measures That Will Save Thousands Of Lives

Following the tragic mass shootings on Buffalo’s East Side and in Uvalde, TX, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first significant gun safety bill in nearly 30 years, has now been signed into law.

“This bipartisan gun-safety legislation will save lives. The American people have waited long enough, and after decades of the NRA’s vice grip, legislation has finally progressed to keep our communities safe. As the author of the Brady background checks bill from 1994—the last major legislative effort to fight gun violence in Congress—I’m pleased that this moment has finally come, and that we’re finally taking meaningful action to keep our communities safe,” said Senator Schumer. “This would not be possible without the survivors of gun violence, families and advocates who have turned their grief into action and lit a candle to bring us out of the darkness to finally pass commonsense gun safety laws.”

Schumer added, “I hope that this paves the way for future action on guns in Congress & at all levels of government. This is not a cure-all for all the ways gun violence affects our nation, but it is a long-overdue step in the right direction. Passing this gun safety bill is truly significant and it is going to save lives.”

A summary of major provisions included in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act can be found below:

  • Enhanced background checks for people under 21
    • Requires an investigative period to review confidential juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement, for buyers under 21 years of age.
    • NICS will have up to three business days to conduct the initial enhanced search. If that search reveals a possible disqualifying record, NICS will have an extended window of up to ten business days total to complete the investigation.
    • Provides additional funding to the FBI to administer new process checks in NICS and grants to help states upgrade criminal and mental health records.
  • Funding to incentivize red flag laws and bolster community violence intervention programs
    • Creates a new $750 million funding pot that will be available to states for the creation and administration of laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others.
    • Provides $250 million in funding for community-based violence prevention initiatives.
  • Closing the ‘boyfriend loophole‘
    • Adds convicted domestic violence abusers in dating relationships to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • Cracking down on gun dealers and illegal trafficking of firearms.
    • Creates federal straw purchasing and trafficking criminal offenses, allowing prosecutors to target dangerous illegal gunrunners and disrupt the flow of illegal guns into New York from states with weak gun laws.
  • Increased support for children and family mental health services
    • Extends enhanced federal funding for NYS Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) which provide vital community-based mental health and substance abuse services to New York patients
    • Improves access to mental health care for children by expanding funding for school-based health programs under Medicaid, the third largest funding stream for school districts, and providing guidance to states on how to expand mental health services via telehealth under Medicaid and CHIP
  • Additional funding for other critical mental health services
    • Provides $250 million to provide flexible funding for states to provide comprehensive community mental health services.
    • Delivers $240 million to increase awareness of mental health issues in school-aged youth, train school personnel and other adults to detect and respond to mental health issues, and connect these individuals and their families with mental health and related services
    • Invests $150 million to support implementation of the 24/7, 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline which provide confidential, free support for individuals in emotional or suicidal distress
    • $120 million in funding to better train first responders on how to appropriately and safely respond to individuals with mental disorders.
    • Reauthorizes and provides $80 million for the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access grant program to provide training and care coordination for pediatric primary care providers to diagnose, treat, and refer children with mental health conditions.
    • Appropriates $40 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, to improve treatment and services for individuals who have experienced trauma.
  • Increase funding to expand mental health programs and supportive services in schools
    • Appropriates $500 million through the School Based Mental Health Services Grant Program to increase the number of qualified mental health service providers that provide school-based mental health services to students in school districts with demonstrated need.
    • Appropriates $500 million through the School-Based Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Grant to establish innovative pipelines that will help train school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists.
    • Appropriates $1 billion to states under the ESEA Title IV-A formula to support a variety of activities to improve conditions for student learning, including evidence-based practices that develop positive school climates.
    • Appropriates $50 million through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to support local afterschool, before school, and summer programs. These funds will target programs that assist older youth.
    • Provides $300 million in additional funding for the STOP School Violence Act to operate and develop school safety measures in schools, support school violence prevention efforts, and provide training to school personnel and students.
    • Codifies the clearinghouse, which provides evidence-based strategies that improve school safety.
    • Prohibits uses of funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to train or equip any person with dangerous weapons in schools.

The full text of the Safer Communities Act can be found here.