U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about U.S. vaccination progress following a visit to a District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination clinic, during remarks in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Joe Biden signed the nation’s most significant gun reform bill in decades into law early Saturday after years of stalled efforts to tighten gun laws.
Biden’s signature comes just a day after House legislatures passed the bipartisan bill in an effort to restrict gun access for the youngest buyers, domestic violence offenders and others who could pose a risk to their communities. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act also would fund school safety and mental health programs.
The Senate passed the matter late Thursday.
“While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives,” Biden said ahead of signing the bill.
Lawmakers have scrambled to find a solution to a recent spate of gun massacres following mass shootings at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store and a Texas elementary school last month.
The new law enhances background checks for 18- to 21-year-old gun buyers. The ability to easily access firearms for young adults came under increased scrutiny after 18-year-olds armed with assault-style rifles carried out both the Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, shootings.
Legislators have worked to close the so-called boyfriend loophole and restrict gun ownership for domestic violence offenders who are not married to their partners. It also sets up grants for states to encourage red-flag laws, which allow police or relatives and acquaintances to petition courts to order the removal of a gun if the individual is deemed dangerous.
Additionally, the bill will fund school safety and youth mental health programs. Republican gun-rights supporters have argued those issues, rather than the prevalence of firearms, have fueled the U.S. gun violence epidemic. Democrats have also long lamented the underfunding of mental-health programs.
“I know there’s much more work to do, but this is a monumental day,” Biden said.
— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.