Myth vs Fact: Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
MYTH: This measure creates a national, federal red flag law, and forces states who don’t have red or yellow flag laws to adopt them.
- This does not create a national, federal red flag law.
- This legislation does not require or incentivize states to adopt red or yellow flag laws.
- States without red flag laws, such as Alaska, will receive funding and can use it to implement other programs like Veterans’ Courts, Drug and DUI Courts, and Mental Health Courts.
- This measure forces states who choose to use grant funding for red flag laws to comply with strict and comprehensive due process requirements.
MYTH: This measure gives Alaskans’ taxpayer dollars to liberal states to take Americans’ guns away without due process.
- Every state will receive grant funding based on an existing formula, and have flexibility to use these funds on crisis intervention court programs that work best for them.
- This bill would force states with red flag laws to adopt due process procedures, such as the right to an in-person hearing and an unbiased adjudicator, before they could spend any grant funding on those programs.
- It does not require or incentivize any state to adopt red flag laws, or penalize states for not having those laws.
MYTH: Red flag laws let anyone tell the police or health care professional that someone is crazy and they immediately have their guns taken away.
- The bill ensures that won’t happen through strict and comprehensive due process requirements.
- In order to have a firearm taken away, a person will first have go through an adjudicatory process, including rights to an in-person hearing, unbiased adjudicator, to present evidence and know opposing evidence, confront witnesses, right to counsel, and heightened evidentiary standards and proof.
- This would force states who use federal funds to implement red flag laws to adopt strict and comprehensive due process procedures in order to use grant funding on those programs.
MYTH: The bill requires background and mental health checks for 18- to 21-year-olds.
- The bill does not mandate mental health checks.
- Background checks are already required for anyone who wants to purchase a gun from a federally licensed dealer, including those in the 18-21 age range.
- For buyers under 21 years of age, it expands the background check requirement to include review of juvenile records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement, only for the purpose of determining whether the individual has a juvenile record that meets criteria under existing law that disqualifies them from purchasing a firearm, such as having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
MYTH: Closing the “boyfriend loophole” is a new restriction and limits Americans’ gun rights.
- Unless you are convicted of domestic violence, this will have no impact on your gun rights.
- This provision narrowly applies to individuals in current or recently-ended continuing relationships of a romantic or intimate nature with their victim.
- It is not retroactive.
- Even if you are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against a non-spouse, you will automatically get your gun rights back five years after the end of your criminal sentence, if you committed no further crimes of violence during this time period.
MYTH: This bill creates universal background checks.
- This is not true.
- In the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, background checks through the NICS system are still only required for firearm purchases from a federally licensed dealer (a.k.a. a Federal Firearm Licensee).
MYTH: This bill creates mandatory waiting periods.
- This legislation does not create mandatory waiting periods.
- Under existing law, when an individual goes to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, they undergo a background check through the NICS system, which can take up to 72 hours.
- In the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, for individuals between 18-20 years of age, the NICS check is expanded to also look at juvenile records. If there is a juvenile record that could potentially disqualify someone from purchasing a gun, the FBI must investigate the record within three days, but can request up to seven additional days if they show cause for needing more time to make a determination. If the FBI does not act within those seven days, the individual can automatically purchase a firearm.
MYTH: This bill incentivizes domestic violence survivors to get an abortion.
- That is false. Under no circumstance does the bill incentivize anyone to get an abortion.