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Press Release

House Takes Action to Prevent Gun Violence, Honor Florida Judge Joseph Hatchett

“While today we find deep disappointment in a horrific Supreme Court decision, the House took its own action to save lives through gun violence prevention and also honor Florida Judge Joseph Hatchett.

“Communities across the country are left mourning the senseless loss of loved ones and neighbors every single day due to gun violence in America. From Buffalo to Uvalde, and from Columbine to Parkland, we have seen the devastation wrought by mass shootings. Many of these large losses of life as well as every day shootings in cities like Tampa can be prevented with federal action. I am pleased that the Senate has finally joined the House and passed a gun violence prevention bill for the first time in three decades.  While more is needed, this legislation will save lives – which is why Democrats took action once more to pass this bill and send it to the President’s desk.

“Additionally, in this same legislation the House recognized Judge Joseph Hatchett for his trailblazing life of integrity, fairness and service by naming the federal courthouse in Tallahassee for him. This comes after Florida Republicans opposed this deserving recognition for one of the Sunshine State’s historic leaders. The bill will now finally head to President Biden’s desk.”

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country, including with:

  • Support for State Crisis Intervention Orders: Creates $750 million for states to create and administer laws that will ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals determined by a court to be a significant danger to themselves or others, and for extreme risk protection orders that have sufficient due process.
  • Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence by Closing the Boyfriend Loophole: Adds convicted domestic violence abusers in dating relationships to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • Banning Gun Trafficking & Cracking Down on Straw Purchases: Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements and clarifies which sellers need to register, conduct background checks, and keep appropriate records, and creates federal straw purchasing and trafficking criminal offenses for the first time, allowing prosecutors to target dangerous illegal gunrunners.
  • Enhanced Background Checks for People Under 21: Requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement, for buyers under 21 years of age, creating an enhanced, longer background check of up to ten days.
  • Anti-Violence Community Initiatives: Provides $250 million in funding for community-based violence prevention initiatives. 
  • Investing in Children & Family Mental Health Services: Supports the national expansion of community behavioral health center model; improves access to mental health services for children, youth, and families through the Medicaid program and CHIP; increases access to mental health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth; and provides major investments at the Department of Health and Human Services to programs that expand provider training in mental health, support suicide prevention, crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.
  • Investing in Safe Schools: Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs, school-based mental health and wrap-around services, improvements to school-wide learning conditions, and school safety.

This important bill includes many provisions first passed by the House, which are needed to save lives. America’s epidemic of gun violence has reached a fever pitch — and Democrats will never stop working to end the violence.  For more information on the Bipartisan Safe Communities Act, please see this one-pager.