Biden signs gun safety bill

Updated June 25, 2022 9:19 a.m. ET

President Biden on Saturday signed into law the first major gun safety law passed by Congress in nearly 30 years.

The signing comes just over a month after the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school killed 19 children and two adults. This attack came 10 days after a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, NY supermarket killed 10 black people.

“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions that I’ve long called for that will save lives,” Biden said just before signing the measure.

“Today we say more than enough. We say more than enough,” he added. “At a time when it seems impossible to do anything in Washington, we are doing something significant.”

The legislation, which passed the House 234-193 Friday night after Senate approval on Thursday, includes incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition the courts to remove guns from people considered a threat to themselves or others.

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Siblings Kiley and Michael Regenthal pay their respects at a memorial in front of Robb Elementary School June 17 in Uvalde, Texas.

In addition, the bill expands an existing law that prevents those convicted of domestic violence from owning a firearm to include dating partners rather than spouses and ex-spouses.

It also expands background checks for people between the ages of 18 and 21 looking to buy a gun.

The National Rifle Association says it opposes the bill.

“This legislation can be misused to restrict legal gun purchases, violate the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures enacted by state politicians and premises,” the NRA said in a statement Tuesday.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who led negotiations between 10 Senate Republicans and 10 Democrats, called the bill a compromise just before Senate voting began Thursday.

“It doesn’t do everything I want it to,” Murphy said. “But what we’re doing will save thousands of lives without violating anyone’s Second Amendment rights.”

The Supreme Court struck down New York’s law restricting concealed carry

Biden’s action also comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling affirming there is a constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense, striking down a New York law which restricted concealed carry.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision “reckless” and “reprehensible.”

“Our states and our governors have a moral responsibility to do what we can because of what is happening: the gun culture madness that has now possessed everyone even the Supreme Court,” he said. Hochul said shortly after the decision on Thursday.

There were at least 281 mass shootings in the United States in 2022, according to Gun Violence Archive. As of June 8, there have been 27 school shootings this year, according to Education Week, which has tracked school shootings since 2018.

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