a bipartisan gun bill Saturday designed to keep weapons away from dangerous people, one month after a horrific elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“At a time when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential,” Biden said in brief remarks at the White House, hailing the gun bill as the most significant law of its kind in “the last 30 years.”
Citing a litany of mass shootings from Las Vegas to Parkland, Florida, Biden said people for too long have urged government to “do something” about the gun problem.
“How many times have you heard that?” Biden said. “Just do something; for God’s sake, just do something. Well, today, we did.”
The new law enhances background checks on young gun buyers between 18 and 21 years of age. It encourages states to develop more and better “red flag” laws that would deny guns to people who are deemed to be dangerous.
It also adds dating partners to the list of domestic abusers who are prohibited from buying firearms, eliminating the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” Biden cited new crackdowns on gun trafficking and straw purchases.
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Biden signed the bill right before his scheduled departure for Europe and a series of meetings with world leaders over Russia’s war on Ukraine.
an elementary school in Uvalde,, the latest in a string of mass shootings in recent decades.
The new law lacks more far-reaching items sought by Biden and congressional Democrats, including an assault weapons ban. Republicans balked at those proposals, calling them encroachment on the Second Amendment.
A smaller group of Republicans did agree to this scaled-down gun bill, enough to get it through the Senate while avoiding a filibuster.
Gun rights groups still protested the final product. “These measures were hastily jammed through with ambiguous language and overbroad definitions to appease gun control supporters in Congress,” The National Rifle Association said.
Some Democrats said they wished the law would go further but supported it as better than nothing. They also vowed to continue pushing for more restrictions on guns in the future.
It remains the biggest federal gun control bill in decades.
“This bill does not do everything we need to end gun violence,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., “but doing nothing was the most extreme option on the table.”
Gun control organizations that have lobbied the government for years praised the new legislation.
John Feinblatt, president of the organization Everytown for Gun Safety, called it “a long-overdue step to address a public health crisis that has turned us into a nation of survivors, many of whom have turned their pain into action, and their actions into a movement.”
Citing Republican support for the gun law amid a deadlock on other issues, Biden also called for bipartisan action on other fronts.
“If we can reach a compromise on guns,” he said, “we ought to be able to reach a compromise on other critical issues on veterans’ health care, cutting edge American innovation and so much more.”