The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was signed into law on June 25, 2022. It was a major achievement for the Congress to pull together the Bill in a bipartisan manner and approve legislation that may not make anyone at the extremes of the left and right divide happy. But for the 60+% in the middle, it showed that people of good will, respecting the opinions of others, can get something done to impact a problem of concern to the public.
The law provides support to improve mental health services for communities and schools; expands background checks for those under 21 to include juvenile records; funds assistance to states to implement Red Flag laws; closes the “boyfriend loophole;” clarifies trafficking to include “straw purchases;” and funds school safety programs.
Credit for the law goes first to Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D) who vowed business as usual would not pass muster after the Uvalde mass murder. She approached Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R) of Kentucky and asked for negotiating partners on the Republican side. McConnell identified Texas Senator John Cornyn (R) and Senator Thom Tillis (R) of North Carolina. The two promptly agreed to meet with Sinema the next day along with Senator Chris Murphy (D) of Connecticut.