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Biden signs biggest gun control bill in 30 years into law

President Joe Biden. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 25, 2022

President Joe Biden signed a new gun control bill into law on Saturday after it cleared votes in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives earlier this week. The bill, called the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” includes incentives for states to pass so-called “red flag” gun confiscation orders, and lengthier background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21, among other new measures surrounding gun rights.

The new bill is the most extensive set of gun control measures in about 30 years. It will require state and local-level juvenile and mental health records to be added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), expanding the background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21 to look for more factors potentially disqualifying their gun purchases. This expanded background check process may entail a waiting period of up to 10 days before a firearm purchase can go through.

The bill also broadens the definition of gun sellers to those who buy and sell guns to “predominantly earn a profit,” which would require people trading and selling their guns to follow stricter Federal Firearms Licensing requirements.

“I’ve been at this work for a long, long time, and I know how hard it is, and I know what it takes to get it done,” Biden said on Saturday after signing the new gun control bill. “It was there — I was there 30 years ago, 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, since — for the last 30 years.”

The Senate hurriedly took a vote on the new gun control legislation on Thursday, just hours after its sponsors released the language of the bill. 15 Senate Republicans joined all of the Democrats to support the bill:

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
  • Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina
  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
  • Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina
  • Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah
  • Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
  • Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
  • Sen. Todd Young of Indiana
  • Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
  • Sen. John Cornyn of Texas

The House also quickly passed the bill on Friday just hours after receiving it from the Senate. The House voted 234-193 to support the bill. 14 Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting the bill:

  • Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
  • Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina
  • Rep. John Katko of New York
  • Rep. Maria Salazar of Florida
  • Rep. Chris Jacobs of New York
  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan
  • Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan
  • Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas
  • Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio
  • Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio
  • Rep. David Joyce of Ohio
  • Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio

“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 that are mass shootings — and we don’t even hear about them, the number of people killed every day in the streets — their message to us was: ‘Do something.’ How many times we heard that? ‘Just do something.’ For God’s sake, just do something,” Biden said Saturday. “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.”