US President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the first major federal gun reform in three decades, hailing the new legislation as “monumental” in view of the huge political divisions over gun control that prevail in the country.
His signing of the gun safety bill comes just days after the Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution protected the right to carry handguns in public for self-defense.
It also comes a month after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
What does the new law stipulate?
The new gun safety legislation, which was passed with both Democrat and Republican support, includes enhanced background checks for younger buyers allowing access to information on significant crimes they may have committed.
It also has provisions for giving federal money to states hat introduce “red flag” laws, i.e. laws that allow courts to temporarily remove weapons from those considered a threat.
In addition, it has stipulations aimed at curbing illegal gun sales, placing stricter penalties on traffickers and those who purchase guns on behalf of others.
The law will also restrict gun sales to people convicted of domestic violence in the context of any continuing intimate relationships. Under current law a person is only barred from purchasing a gun if they are convicted of domestic violence while married to, living with or having a child with the victim.
However, the law does not ban sales of assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines, which Biden called for earlier this month.
The mandatory background checks on all gun purchases wanted by Biden and Democrats are also lacking.
‘I’m never going to give up’
At the signing, Biden said, “While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives.”
“When it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential,” he added. “I know there’s much more work to do and I’m never going to give up.”
The United States has the highest rates of gun ownership and mass shootings among wealthy nations.
The US Supreme Court on Thursday rejected as unconstitutional New York state’s limits, introduced in 1913, on carrying concealed handguns in public.
It is expected that the judges’ 6-3 decision could ultimately allow more people to legally carry guns on the streets of New York and other large cities such as Los Angeles and Boston.
tj/dj (Reuters, AFP)
The post US: Biden signs bipartisan gun safety bill into law appeared first on Deutsche Welle.