Bipartisan gun bill will save lives and Biden deserves credit
The United States faces an epidemic that is not prevalent in any other developed country in the world: gun violence. Every day, 30 people are shot and killed by someone using a gun, and that number jumps to over 100 when you factor in suicides and accidental shootings. It is clear that gun violence is a problem that must be addressed, and President Biden and Democrats led the way in delivering the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in the past two decades.
Democrats in Congress have been working on gun violence prevention since the Sandy Hook tragedy — yet legislation was not able to be passed until Democrats had control of the House, Senate, and White House. We knew that the tragedies of Buffalo, Uvalde, Orlando, Las Vegas, Aurora, Boulder, and every other site of mass shootings, along with the everyday gun violence that plagues our communities, demanded action. That’s why we were able to deliver the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden signed into law just three weeks ago. This victory belongs to all victims, survivors, advocates, and all those impacted by gun violence, and it is going to save lives.
Had the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act been implemented a year ago, the horrible shooting in Highland Park may have been prevented.
The law includes $750 million in funding for states to implement crisis prevention orders, including red flag laws that keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals, as determined by a court. The shooter’s history of threats and the fact that law enforcement seized deadly weapons from his house after he threatened to kill his family demonstrates the need for fully implemented red flag laws. The law also provides enhanced background checks for people under 21. Had this law been in place when the shooter bought some of his weapons when he was 20, local law enforcement may have known he had a history of violence and he may have been prevented from carrying out the purchase.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a huge victory for gun violence prevention, but like with any law, it takes time to implement. The provisions of this bill may have stopped the Highland Park shooter from committing this horrendous attack, and they will certainly prevent future shooters from carrying out future attacks.
I am proud of this law and I am proud of all of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, who worked to make it possible, and I am proud of President Biden who pushed Congress to act and make this law a reality. While this will not save all of the 45,000 deaths caused by gun violence each year, it is a strong step in the right direction.
Mike Thompson represents the 5th District of California and is chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.