One month after Uvalde massacre, Biden signs most significant gun reform bill in nearly 30 years
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden Saturday signed a bipartisan gun bill designed to keep weapons away from dangerous people, one month after a horrific elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“Lives will be saved,” Biden said in brief remarks. Biden described the bill as “the most significant law” of its kind in “the last 30 years.”
Citing a litany of mass shootings from Las Vegas to Parkland, Biden said people for too long have urged government to “just do something” about the lethal problem. “Today, we did,” he said.
The new law enhances background checks on young gun buyers between 18 and 21 years of age. It encourages states to develop more and better “red flag” laws that would deny guns to people who are deemed to be dangerous.
It also adds dating partners to the list of domestic abusers who are prohibited from buying firearms, eliminating the so-called “boyfriend loophole.”
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Biden signed the bill right before his scheduled departure for Europe and a series of meetings with world leaders over Russia’s war on Ukraine. After signing the bill, Biden said in a soft voice that it “will save a lot of lives.”
The bill signing comes a little more than a month after the killings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the latest in a string of mass shootings in recent decades.
The new law lacks more far-reaching items sought by Biden and congressional Democrats, including an assault weapons ban. Republicans balked at those proposals, calling them encroachment on the Second Amendment.
A smaller group of Republicans did agree to this scaled-down gun bill, enough to get it through the Senate while avoiding a filibuster.
Gun rights groups still protested the final product. The National Rifle Association said “these measures were hastily jammed through with ambiguous language and overbroad definitions to appease gun control supporters in Congress.”
Some Democrats said they wished the law would go farther but supported it as better than nothing. They also vowed to continue pushing for more restrictions on guns in the future.
It remains the biggest federal gun control bill in decades.
“This bill does not do everything we need to end gun violence,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., “but doing nothing was the most extreme option on the table.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Joe Biden signs gun safety bill
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