WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, legislation to prevent gun violence in communities across the country. The National League of Cities (NLC) applauds this bipartisan legislation which includes stronger background checks, stronger restrictions on gun trafficking and increased mental health services for children and families.
“Local leaders see the horrific impacts of gun violence on their residents firsthand, and we are pleased to see Congress take action on policies and programs aimed at preventing future tragedies,” said Mayor Vince Williams of Union City, GA, NLC President. “Far too many families and communities have been devastated by gun violence and local leaders have been calling for federal action to tackle this crisis for decades. Now, members of Congress from across the aisle have joined together to move this legislation forward, a good step towards making our communities safer. We urge the House to take up this bill quickly and President Biden to sign it into law.”
Earlier this month, 500+ local leaders from cities, towns and villages across the country sent a bipartisan letter to Congress urging action to prevent gun violence. This legislation includes measures that align with the requests in NLC’s letter:
- Authorizes the use of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to help states implement crisis intervention court proceedings and related programs or initiatives, including extreme risk protection order programs, also known as red flag laws.
- Provides additional investment mental health services by:
- Expanding the community behavioral health center model;
- Investing in mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs and school-based mental health and wrap-around services; and
- Providing additional investments in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
- Creates new federal statutes against gun trafficking and straw trafficking and makes it easier for local law enforcement to go after those who are buying guns for individuals who are not allowed to purchase weapons on their own.
- Establishes stricter punishments and crack down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns and requires more gun sellers to register as Federally Licensed Firearm Dealers.
- Requires an investigative period for buyers under 21 years of age to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.