President Biden signs bipartisan gun reform bill

US President Joe Biden, following a visit to a District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) vaccination clinic for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), speaks during a speech in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, United States, on the progress of the US vaccination 21st, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden signed the nation’s most significant gun reform bill in decades early Saturday after years of efforts to tighten gun laws stalled.

Biden’s signature comes just a day after House lawmakers passed bipartisan legislation to limit gun access for recent buyers, domestic abuse offenders and others who could pose a risk to their communities. The bipartisan Safer Communities Act would also fund school safety and mental health programs.

The Senate passed the matter late Thursday.

“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it contains actions that I have long called for that will save lives,” Biden said before signing the law.

Lawmakers have been scrambling to find a solution to a recent spate of gun shootings that followed mass shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Texas last month.

The new law improves background checks for 18- to 21-year-old gun buyers. The ability to provide young adults with easy access to firearms came under increased scrutiny after 18-year-olds armed with assault rifles carried out the shootings in both Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.

Lawmakers have been working to close the so-called boyfriend loophole and restrict gun ownership for perpetrators of domestic violence who are not married to their partners. It also provides grants for states to promote warning signals that allow police or relatives and acquaintances to order courts to remove a weapon if the person is deemed dangerous.

In addition, the bill will fund school safety and youth mental health programs. Supporters of Republican gun rights have argued that these issues, and not the proliferation of firearms, have fueled the US gun violence epidemic. Democrats have also long complained about underfunding of mental health programs.

“I know there’s still work to be done, but this is a monumental day,” Biden said.

— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report. President Biden signs bipartisan gun reform bill

Joshua Buckhalter

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