ACP Action Alert: Urge Your Senators to Vote "Yes" on S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to Reduce Gun Violence!
Last night, the U.S. Senate passed a procedural motion on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938), compromise legislation that would strengthen background checks, better protect victims of domestic abuse from firearms violence, help states create and sustain programs for crisis intervention orders, require more sellers of firearms to be federally licensed, establish measures to end straw purchases, and bolster the nation’s response to mental-health issues. The motion passed with bipartisan support (64 to 34) with all Democratic senators and 14 Republican senators supporting it. The Senate will now begin formal debate on the bill with a vote occurring within the next 24-48 hours.
In a statement and letter released today, ACP applauded the bipartisan legislation urging the Senate to pass it immediately and the House to promptly follow suit and approve it as well. President Biden has indicated that he is willing to sign it into law. While S. 2938 is not inclusive of the more comprehensive policy reforms supported by ACP in the House-passed version, it does represent a positive step forward in addressing this crisis, as ACP expressed in a June 9th letter to Senate leaders. As we continue to engage with Congress on the need for bolder, more comprehensive action on this important issue, we urge you to reach out to your senators and encourage them to vote “yes” on this legislation.
For more than two decades, ACP has called for common sense policies that would help reduce the number of injuries and deaths stemming from firearms. In 2019, ACP joined with 41 other leading organizations in a joint call-to-action that sought evidence-based solutions to mitigate firearms violence. We are pleased that some of our recommendations in our most recent policy paper on firearms violence prevention were included in this legislation and we urge the Senate to act now to pass it.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes the following key provisions:
- Creates grants for crisis intervention programs. The bill includes $750 million to help states implement and run crisis intervention programs, including extreme risk protection (otherwise known as red flag laws) to allow family members or the police to petition a court to authorize temporarily removal of firearms from a person found to be at great imminent risk of using them to harm themselves or others, with due process. The money can be used to implement and manage programs that keep firearms out of the hands of those deemed to be a threat to themselves or others, and for other crisis intervention programs like mental health courts, drug courts and veteran courts.
- Closes the so-called boyfriend loophole. The bill would bar anyone who is convicted of a domestic violence crime against someone they have a current or recent former dating relationship from purchasing or possessing firearms for five years.
- Creates new federal statutes against firearms trafficking and straw trafficking. The bill makes it easier to go after those who are buying firearms for individuals who are not allowed to purchase weapons on their own.
- Requires more firearms sellers to register as Federally Licensed Firearm Dealers. The bill targets individuals who sell guns as primary sources of income but have previously evaded registering as Federally Licensed Firearm Dealers.
- Allows expanded reviews of people age 18-21 who want to buy firearms. The bill encourages states, through grants, to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check system as well as implements a new protocol for checking those records.
Action Requested: Please call your senators today and urge them to vote “yes” on S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. A sample call script has been provided for your convenience. Simply follow the prompts below.