If passed, it would be the most significant new federal legislation to address gun violence since the expiration of the 10-year assault weapons ban in 1994 – although it will not ban no weapons and fall far short of what Democrats and polls show most Americans want to see.
The bill includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include minors’ records in the nation’s instant criminal background check system.
The release of the bill’s text came after days of lawmakers haggling over several sticking points, raising questions about whether the effort would fall apart. Lawmakers must now race against time before the Senate leaves for July 4 recess in order to get the bill through the chamber.
Schumer praised bipartisan negotiators Tuesday night and said the bill represents “progress and will save lives.”
“While it’s not all we want, this legislation is urgently needed,” the New York Democrat added in remarks to the Senate.
Regarding the timing of the legislation, Schumer said, “We will move into final passage as soon as possible. I expect the bill to pass the Senate by the end of the week.”
The bill – titled the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – was introduced by Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
What’s in the bill
- $750 million to help states implement and manage crisis response programs. The money can be used to implement and manage red flag programs and for other crisis intervention programs like mental health courts, drug courts and veterans courts. Whether that money could be used for things other than red flag laws had been a main sticking point. Republicans were able to get money for states that don’t have red flag laws but have other crisis response programs.
- Closing the so-called boyfriend loophole. This legislation fills a years-old loophole in domestic violence law that prohibited people convicted of crimes of domestic violence against a married partner, or partners with whom they shared children, or partners with whom they cohabited from have guns. The old laws did not include intimate partners who could not live together, be married or share children. Now the law will prohibit anyone convicted of a crime of domestic violence against someone with whom they have a “serious and ongoing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” from having a firearm. The law is not retroactive. However, it will allow those convicted of domestic violence offenses to restore their gun rights after five years if they have not committed other crimes. This is a key concession to Republicans.
- Requires more gun dealers to register as federally licensed gun dealers. The bill targets people who sell firearms as their primary source of income, but who have previously avoided registering as federally licensed firearms dealers. This is important because federally licensed dealers are required to administer background checks before selling a firearm to someone.
- More in-depth reviews of people between the ages of 18 and 21 who want to buy firearms. The bill both encourages states to include minors’ records in the nation’s instant criminal background check system with grants and implements a new protocol for checking those records. It gives NICS three days to review an individual’s case. If anything potentially disqualifying happens, the NICS gets an additional seven days. If the review is not completed by then, the arms transfer is completed.
- Creates new federal laws against gun trafficking and straw trafficking. Makes it easier to prosecute those who buy guns for people who are not allowed to buy guns on their own.
- Increase funding for mental health and school safety programs. This money is being directed to a series of programs, many of which already exist but would be funded more vigorously under this act.
This story and headline were updated with additional developments on Tuesday.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Shawna Mizelle contributed to this report.
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