Senate Passes Gun Safety, Mental Health Measure

Last night, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voted in favor of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, targeted legislation to address gaps in the law that have enabled mass shootings, including the need for additional mental health and school safety resources. The bill provides historic investments in our mental health care system, including in rural areas, more resources for school safety, and helps keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are disqualified to possess them. The bill passed the Senate 65-33.

“From the outset, this bill was a compromise measure, spearheaded by a bipartisan group of 20 of my Senate colleagues. I join them in their commitment to showing the public that Congress knows the status quo on gun violence is not acceptable—that we can do more for school safety, for the safety of our communities, and to address the growing mental health crisis in this country,” said Senator Murkowski. “This legislation emphasizes and provides additional funding for mental health and school safety programs to help ensure that kids and people of all ages are better protected. As a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and a gun owner myself, it was essential to ensure that this legislation not violate the rights of law-abiding gun owners. It does not. While this legislation is not perfect, it is a responsive, responsible, and targeted approach to address the very serious mass shooting and gun violence incidents this country continues to face.”

The bill does NOT create a national red flag law, or require or incentivize states to enact red flag laws, or penalize states that do not have these laws; it does NOT infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens; and it does NOT create universal background checks, mental health checks or mandatory or de-facto waiting periods.

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Bill Highlights: [Click here for funding details.]

  • It provides federal funding to implement crisis intervention court programs such as Mental Health Courts, Veterans’ Courts, and Drug Courts.
  • It increases access to mental health and suicide prevention programs, and crisis and trauma intervention.
  • It provides significant resources for school safety and violence prevention.
  • It invests in telehealth and mental health services in schools, including early identification and intervention.
  • For buyers under 21 years of age, there is an enhanced background check to look for potentially disqualifying juvenile records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.
  • It ensures convicted domestic violence abusers are not able to illegally own a firearm.

Related Issues: Second Amendment, Health