On June 25, US President Biden signed a gun control bill, breaking the situation that the United States has not introduced any gun control bill in nearly 30 years.
The most important background of this bill is the school shooting incident at Rob Elementary School in Yuval, Texas, USA a month ago – an 18-year-old high school student carrying weapons such as a rifle, a pistol and a large-capacity magazine, Broke into Rob Elementary School and fired on children and teachers in the school, killing 19 children and 2 teachers.
In another notable background, the U.S. Supreme Court said for the first time on Thursday that the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s ability to carry a handgun in public for self-defense. Biden called it a “terrible decision.”
The latest gun control bill, signed by Biden, would impose stricter checks on young gun buyers and allow state or federal courts to force the seizure of guns from people judges deem dangerous.
When he signed the bill, Biden said that the victims’ relatives expected something from the U.S. government. “Today, we did it.”
What is the content of the bill?
The name of the bill is the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (Bipartisan Safer Communities Act), and the main elements include:
- Strengthen background checks on potential gun buyers aged 18 to 21, including mental health records of teens in this age group, to filter out unqualified gun buyers;
- $15 billion in federal funding for mental health programs and school safety upgrades;
- Provide funding to encourage U.S. states to pass red flag laws, which would allow state or federal courts to enforce the seizure of firearms from people who have firearms judges deem dangerous;
- Closing the so-called “boyfriend loophole”, existing laws prohibit domestic violence perpetrators who are married to their victims from buying guns, but ignore the situation of boyfriends and girlfriends, the new bill will fill this loophole.
The bill doesn’t ban the sale of assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines, but it does take steps around background checks, such as allowing access to information on serious crimes committed by juveniles for the first time.
President Biden and related gun control groups have pushed for bigger reforms — including bans on assault weapons, which were used in the Texas and Buffalo shootings — or at least raising the age for buying them. For example, the gunman in the Texas shooting purchased two semi-automatic rifles within days of turning 18.
The new bill falls short of those goals, but it does take some steps towards background checks, allowing for the first time access to information on serious crimes committed by young people.
Biden acknowledged that “while this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions that I’ve long called for that will save lives.”
Bipartisan Cooperation and Compromise
Another significance of the new bill is that it is the first time in decades that gun reform has received support from both Democrats and Republicans.
Gun control has been wildly divided in the U.S. in the past, has been thwarted by Republicans, and attempts to impose new controls on gun sales have failed time and time again.
But the U.S. Congress this week approved the legislation with bipartisan support in the wake of a mass shooting of children that shocked the world.
“At a time when it seems impossible for Washington to accomplish anything, we are doing something meaningful. If we can reach a compromise on guns, we should be able to reach a compromise on other key issues,” Biden said. “I know There is still a lot of work to do and I will never give up. But this is a day to remember.”
On the issue of guns, the differences remain unresolved. The conservative National Rifle Association (NRA), for example, opposed the bill, arguing that it would not prevent violence.
And this Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court, which currently has a majority of conservative justices, voted 6 to 3 to rule in New York State a gun control law that restricts people from “concealed carry” in public places. The state-level law is unconstitutional, effectively expanding gun rights. The Supreme Court also said for the first time that the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s ability to carry a handgun in public for self-defense.
“The Supreme Court has made some terrible decisions,” Biden told reporters after learning of the ruling, which followed a separate Supreme Court ruling Friday that removed women’s right to abortion nationwide.
For Biden, the bill will also help boost support for Democrats ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, where a gun-control victory will serve as an element of Democratic propaganda to voters.
Why gun control is so important in America
It is estimated that there are currently 393 million guns in the United States.
The U.S. has the highest gun death rate among the developed world—more than 20,900 people were killed in gun violence in the U.S. this year, according to the nonprofit research group the Gun Violence Archive.
But many in the United States consider gun rights protected by the Second Amendment to be very important.
The last significant federal gun control legislation was passed in 1994, banning the manufacture of civilian assault rifles and high-capacity magazines — but that act lapsed after a decade.
While polls show a majority of Americans support gun control efforts, states represented by many Republican senators have large pro-gun voters. And those lawmakers need to win the party’s primary, and Republican voters tend to oppose gun control reform.