President Biden Announces New Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Maximize Benefits of Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

In a recent op-ed, President Biden highlighted the new actions being taken by his administration to implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and reduce gun violence. The President emphasized the importance of this legislation in saving lives and honoring the victims of tragic shootings, such as those in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. Through collaboration with Congress, President Biden was able to break a long-standing congressional logjam and enact the BSCA.

To ensure the full implementation of the BSCA, President Biden signed an Executive Order on March 14, 2023. The order directed key members of his Cabinet to submit progress reports within 60 days, outlining the steps taken to maximize the benefits of the law. These reports have already shown promising results in terms of saving lives and enhancing public safety.

Some notable actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to reduce gun violence and maximize the benefits of the BSCA include:

  1. Keeping guns out of dangerous hands:

    • Convening state and local law enforcement leaders to enhance background check response rates for individuals under 21 attempting to purchase firearms.
    • Urging state legislators and governors’ offices to enact laws that allow federal background check systems access to all records prohibiting individuals under 21 from purchasing firearms.
    • Working with state and local law enforcement agencies to increase response rates to federal background check system inquiries for individuals under 21.
  2. Ensuring BSCA’s mental health funding supports those affected by gun violence:

    • Urging governors to utilize BSCA and Medicaid funding to address mental health challenges resulting from gun violence in schools.
    • Educating health and social service providers, community leaders, and individuals on the impact of gun violence trauma.
    • Highlighting success stories of communities effectively using BSCA’s mental health funding to encourage adoption of similar strategies.
    • Gathering community-level data on the link between exposure to gun violence and trauma to inform future program development.
  3. Making schools safer:

    • Launching a public campaign to raise awareness of and its available resources.
    • Assisting states and school districts in effectively using BSCA’s Stronger Connections Grant Program to improve school safety.
    • Providing resources for schools to use Medicaid funding for school-based health services addressing the physical and emotional impacts of gun violence.
  4. Expanding community violence interventions:

    • Hosting webinars to help local leaders utilize evidence-informed strategies to reduce violence.
    • Allocating funds for community violence intervention programs across multiple jurisdictions.

The progress made in implementing the BSCA is evident in various areas:

  • Denial of firearms transactions for individuals under 21 due to enhanced background checks.
  • Increased prosecutions for unlicensed dealing in firearms.
  • Awards and grants for crisis intervention programs, school safety, and mental health services.
  • Efforts to improve access to mental health care and address trauma resulting from gun violence.
  • Funding for community violence intervention programs.

President Biden’s commitment to reducing gun violence and saving lives remains at the forefront of his administration’s agenda. Through the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and collaboration with key stakeholders, significant progress is being made to create safer communities and protect individuals from the devastating impact of gun violence.

By Joshi

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