Gun Violence Prevention Advocates and Gun Violence Survivors Attending Event Today Available for Interviews
Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Drove Over One Million Calls & Messages to the U.S. Senate to Help Pass Bill; Everytown Advised in the Drafting of The Legislation
WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements today ahead of a White House event celebrating the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a historic gun safety, mental health, and school safety bill. The legislation, led by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), passed with strong bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House and was swiftly signed into law by President Biden last month – the first major federal gun safety legislation to become law in nearly 26 years. Everytown for Gun Safety advised in the negotiation and drafting of the bill.
“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act broke a 26-year logjam on Congressional action on gun safety and is a historic step forward toward keeping our communities safe from gun violence,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety and in attendance at today’s event. “It’s fitting that President Biden, who has been taking on the gun lobby for decades, was the president to sign this lifesaving bill. This law should be a signal to every leader we entrust with the safety of our loved ones: The time has come to reach across the aisle and pass common-sense laws to keep guns out of dangerous hands.”
“Our grassroots army of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have spent nearly a decade organizing for this moment,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action and in attendance at today’s event. “Over the past 10 years, the American people have moved towards gun safety, the politics of this issue have moved toward gun safety, and our laws have moved toward gun safety too. President Biden is following through on his commitment to gun safety and while we have more work ahead, this bill is proof that progress is possible.”
“Our entire lives, we’ve known that progress on ending gun violence is possible if our leaders had the courage to act — and today is proof,” said Jeannie She, a volunteer with Virginia Students Demand Action attending today’s event who has been personally impacted by gun violence, and a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “Too many of us — including myself and my family — have seen the pain of gun violence first-hand, whether in our schools or in our communities. Our fight to end gun violence is far from over, but we’re grateful for this meaningful step forward.”
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act establishes an enhanced background check process for gun buyers under age 21, provides federal funding to implement state Red Flag laws, disarms domestic abusers by addressing the dating partner loophole, and funds community violence intervention programs, among other items.
- ENHANCING BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR BUYERS UNDER 21: Establishes an enhanced background check process and up to three business day investigative period for buyers under age 21 that will require checking with state law enforcement, local law enforcement, and either state or local courts before a sale proceeds. This strengthens current law that already stops a gun dealer from selling a handgun to a person under 21, and any gun to a person under 18.
- SUPPORTING STATE RED FLAG LAWS: Provides $750 million in much-needed funding over the next five years to support crisis intervention services, including the implementation of state Red Flag laws. The bill will also unlock a well-established existing funding stream to support the implementation of Red Flag laws.
- DISARMING DOMESTIC ABUSERS: Expands the current prohibition preventing convicted domestic abusers from buying or possessing guns to include not only those who abused their spouses, but also those who abused their dating partners.
- CLARIFYING WHO MUST RUN A BACKGROUND CHECK: Clarifies existing law on what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, so that it is clearer when unlicensed people selling guns to strangers are required to obtain a Federal Firearms License and run background checks on all sales.
- CRACKING DOWN ON GUN TRAFFICKING: Establishes the first ever federal laws against interstate gun trafficking and straw purchasing to stop the flow of illegal guns into cities.
- FUNDING COMMUNITY VIOLENCE INTERVENTION. The bill includes $250 million in dedicated funding for evidence-informed, community-based violence intervention programs that have been proven to reduce gun violence in the most affected communities using a public health approach.
- INVESTING IN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND ACCESS: Provides critical resources to expand community mental health services for children and families, fund school-based mental health and supportive services, invest in telehealth mental health services to expand access, and invest in community crisis intervention programs.
- PROVIDING SCHOOL SAFETY FUNDING: Funds evidence-based school violence prevention efforts, training, and the implementation of safety measures at primary and secondary schools.
Since the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, Everytown supporters, alongside gun violence survivors and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, mobilized in Washington, D.C. and in the home states of U.S. senators to call for action, sending over one million calls and messages to the U.S. Senate, dropping off tens of thousands of petitions at home state offices urging them to take bold action, and leading nationwide school walkouts. In early June, Everytown and Moms Demand Action held more than 350 events across all 50 states for National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend. As Senators negotiated this bill, Everytown and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action held two rallies on Capitol Hill. Everytown also launched a $400,000 ad campaign urging key U.S. senators to act. When the Senate passed the legislation, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action had 70 volunteers watching from the gallery.