Close this search box.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act: What’s Next?

A Sandy Hook Promise activist holds up an SHP sign at the March for Our Lives (MFOL) rally in Washington, DC. March 24, 2018. Credit: Sandy Hook Promise Volunteer

Share This Post

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) was signed into law by President Biden on June 25, 2022, the day after the U.S. House joined the Senate in voting to pass it. Sandy Hook Promise was a key partner in what is the largest federal legislation on gun violence prevention in 30 years. The law included essential gun safety measures, such as closing a major loophole in the background checks system by defining “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. Additionally, it offers enhanced safety provisions and mental health resources for students.

What was Sandy Hook Promise’s role in the passage of the BSCA?

By always putting the protection of children first, Sandy Hook Promise has helped pass major mental health reforms, school safety laws, and other bipartisan legislation. SHP was instrumental in securing the Republican and Democratic support necessary for the BSCA’s enactment, making a significant impact on gun violence prevention and youth safety. How did it work?

  • Bipartisan Collaboration: SHP worked closely with key senators from both parties to draft the legislation and build broad support.
  • Advocacy and Negotiation: SHP engaged in extensive advocacy and negotiations to strengthen federal background checks and close existing loopholes.
  • Partnerships: SHP formed strategic partnerships with organizations like the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to secure federal funding for state-level gun violence prevention programs.
  • Focus on Youth Safety: Prioritized youth safety and mental health, advocating for unprecedented levels of funding to support these areas in the bill.
  • Community Mobilization: Mobilized grassroots support, rallying community members to contact legislators and participate in advocacy events, amplifying the push for the bill’s passage.

In an increasingly divided nation, bipartisan solutions like the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act are more important than ever to protect children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. Read on about this historic legislation, the incredible impact its making, and why SHP is eager to support the continued implementation of this bipartisan will of Congress.

What Funding is in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act?

Every step toward protecting our children from gun violence is a step in the right direction. This breakthrough legislation includes:

$750 million in funding for states to implement and improve Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws. These are commonly known as red flag laws. It also supports other efforts like mental health courts, drug courts, or veterans courts. ERPOs allow law enforcement and family members to petition a court to temporarily separate a loved one in crisis from firearms. Once they’re no longer in crisis, the court cancels the order, the firearm is returned, and a tragedy is averted.

$250 million for community-based violence intervention. The funding helps street outreach teams, hospital-based violence prevention initiatives, Cure Violence programs, and other efforts. These programs work to mediate conflicts before they turn violent.

$300 million in additional funding for the STOP School Violence Act. This makes critical funding available to school districts, states, and tribes to implement evidence-based, early-intervention school programs. Funds are used to prevent violence before a weapon ever enters a school environment. Sandy Hook Promise helped write and pass this bipartisan school safety legislation in 2018.

A $1 billion investment in mental health. This includes support for behavioral health centers, telehealth services, suicide prevention, school-based trauma and mental health support, and provider training. It also includes $240 million for Project AWARE. Thanks to the STANDUP Act, that means more access for suicide prevention programming in schools. Sandy Hook Promise helped write and pass the STANDUP Act earlier this year.

More than $2 billion in funding for schools. This includes more than $500 million for school-based mental health services and $500 million for mental health staff and counselors. Additionally, it includes $300 million for safety measures and violence prevention efforts.

What Prevention Policies Are in the 2022 Gun Reform Legislation?

Clarification on who needs to seek a Federal Firearms License before selling guns. This change will require online buyers and trade show retailers to conduct a background check before every purchase.

An enhanced background check process for gun buyers between ages 18 and 21. This would include calls to state and local law enforcement and a search of state juvenile records. It gives federal law enforcement up to 10 days to finish the check before a dealer can hand over a gun.

A provision to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. The bill would partially close the dating loophole. That is also often called the “boyfriend loophole.”

Current federal law only prohibits domestic violence abusers from buying or possessing a gun if their victim is a current or former spouse, child, co-parent, or cohabiting partner. The legislation would extend that prohibition to include people who abused their current or recent dating partners.

A federal statute prohibiting gun trafficking and straw purchases. This could give federal law enforcement and prosecutors more leeway to target the illicit trade of firearms across state lines. Currently, there isn’t a federal statute that explicitly prohibits gun trafficking or purchasing a firearm on behalf of someone else.

These measures are incredible leaps toward transformational change. We also know we will continue to lean in, and the work continues. No single reform will end gun violence completely. But, we feel empowered to continue our mission to make our schools safer and continue to save more lives. Together we can prevent gun violence.

Thank Congress for Supporting Federal Gun Safety Reform!

We’re grateful to Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) for their bold leadership and partnership in taking this important step forward in protecting our communities.

Sixty-five Senators and the House of Representatives passed this bill, making it a historic bipartisan agreement. Congress can and will come together on commonsense, life-saving gun prevention measures when we show our advocacy, action, and support.

Please Sign Our Card to continue to show our gratitude to Congress and keep passing legislation that advances school safety and mental health and prevents gun violence.

Join Us! Let’s Continue our Gun Violence Prevention Action

The BSCA was a giant leap forward. But we know there’s more work to be done to keep our children and communities safe from gun violence. Future victories rely on your continuous support, engaging with your community and legislators. Above all, let’s continue to get commonsense gun violence prevention solutions across the finish line. Let’s keep the momentum going! Here’s how you can help:

Find out more about the Sandy Hook Action Fund. Our work does not end here. Help protect our schools, homes, and communities from gun violence.