On June 25, following the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to protect America’s children, keep schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across the country. This is the most significant new federal gun safety legislation in almost three decades.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act combines gun safety legislation with funding for mental health and school security resources. While there are many components of this bill that may take several years to roll out, here are some key provisions that families should be aware of.
Looking for more resources on the impact of gun violence on children? Visit our A Concerned Parent’s Guide to Gun Violence and Gun Safety.
Mental health services for children and families
- Provides funding for states to expand mental health services.
- Increases access to community based behavioral health services.
- Increases access to telemental health services for children.
- Provides improved training and funding for pediatric mental health providers.
- Provides support for children, adolescents and families who have experienced traumatic events.
Community violence intervention programs
- Invests in community violence intervention and crisis intervention programs. This includes street outreach teams, hospital-based violence prevention initiatives, Cure Violence programs, and other efforts to mediate conflicts before they turn violent.
- Trains community members and first responders on how to appropriately and safely respond to individuals with mental disorders.
- Establishes new three-digit 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to be rolled out this summer.
- Provides additional funding for the STOP Violence School Act that implements evidence-based, early-intervention school programs to prevent violence before a weapon ever enters a school environment.
- Establishes a Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Evidence-based practices, which serves as a federal resource to identify and publish online evidence-based practices and recommendations to improve safety.
- Increases the number of qualified mental health service providers that provide school based mental health services to students in school districts with demonstrated need.
- Improves training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues and connect school-aged youth who may have behavioral health issues and their families to needed services.
Access to firearms
- Enhances background checks for firearms buyers under 21 years old by requiring the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS) to check juvenile and mental health records through local law enforcement or state databases to determine whether a prospective gun buyer under 21 has a possibly disqualifying juvenile record.
- Lengthens background check waiting period by giving NICS up to 10 days to conduct background checks.
- Allows family members to petition a court to temporarily separate a loved one in crisis from firearms.
- Allows authorities to temporarily confiscate weapons from people who are deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.
- Prohibits domestic abusers from purchasing firearms.