May 22, 2024

President Biden Announces 13 Actions to Implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on lowering healthcare costs, Tuesday, September 27, 2022, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

In an op-ed published today, President Biden announced 13 new actions designed to enforce the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and maximize its benefits. This move aims to reduce gun violence and preserve lives, while also honoring victims of past gun violence incidents in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas. “Because of these tragedies and the courageous advocacy of the victims’ families and survivors, we worked with Congress to break a 30-year congressional logjam and enact the BSCA,” President Biden stated.

These reports, as per the President’s Executive Order from March 14, 2023, indicate that the BSCA is effective. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has denied more than 160 firearms transactions solely because of BSCA’s enhanced background checks for individuals under 21. The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) have also delivered over $1.5 billion in funds to make schools safer, improve access to mental health services, and assist young people dealing with the trauma of gun violence.

President Biden’s 13 actions encompass various areas, including keeping guns out of dangerous hands, ensuring BSCA’s mental health funding helps those dealing with grief and trauma from gun violence, making schools safer, and expanding community violence interventions.

Here are 10 key things to remember about the new actions:

  1. The White House and DOJ are collaborating with local and state law enforcement leaders to implement the BSCA, focusing on increasing the response rates to enhanced background check inquiries for gun purchases by individuals under 21, and ensuring that arrest records include documentation of dating relationships to prevent domestic abusers from possessing firearms.
  2. The White House and DOJ are urging state legislators and governors to allow the federal background check system to access all records prohibiting individuals under 21 from purchasing firearms.
  3. DOJ is working with state and territory governments and local law enforcement agencies to increase their response rates to the federal background check system inquiries when someone under 21 tries to purchase a gun.
  4. DOJ is training federal law enforcement and educating local enforcement and prosecutors on the necessity for additional documentation in domestic abuse cases to implement BSCA’s provision that narrowed the “boyfriend loophole.”
  5. The Secretaries of HHS and ED are urging governors to use BSCA and Medicaid’s funding to help schools address the trauma and mental health challenges resulting from gun violence.
  6. HHS will educate health and social service providers, community leaders, and other individuals on the effects that gun violence trauma can have on communities.
  7. HHS will clarify how early childhood providers can use BSCA funding to address mental health and gun violence trauma.
  8. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will launch a public campaign to raise awareness about and its resources and practices.
  9. ED is taking steps to help states and school districts make effective use of BSCA’s $1 billion Stronger Connections Grant Program to improve school safety.
  10. DOJ is hosting a webinar series to help local leaders use evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence, thereby maximizing the benefits of BSCA’s community violence intervention funding.

“The steps we are taking today will help us maximize the benefits of the BSCA, keep guns out of dangerous hands, and ensure that those dealing with the grief and trauma resulting from gun violence receive the help they need,” President Biden affirmed.

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