Chart Notes – Summer of 2022
Jerry Walden, MD
Finally, a federal legislative victory for us- the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a first since PPGV was formed in 2011, has been signed into law by President Biden.
According to the Economist the law “reassured gun-control advocates while also appealing to those on the right concerned about preserving the constitutional right to bear arms. It passed in the Senate by 65 votes to 33. The House passed it the following day, with 14 Republicans joining the Democrats, and President Joe Biden swiftly signed it into law. Christian Heyne, of Brady, a gun control group was sitting in the Senate gallery with his sister for the vote, along with other shooting survivors. Their parents were shot, their mother fatally, by a gunman in 2005. “It’s not going to solve gun violence on its own,” he says, but it provides a path for “creating real change around guns”.
The package provides billions of dollars for mental-health services and school safety, as well as grants to help states pass and implement red-flag laws, which take guns away from those deemed a danger to themselves or others. The law enhances background checks for gun buyers under 21. It closes the “boyfriend loophole” to prevent domestic abgusers from buying a gun for five years. It also clarifies and expands what a “federally licensed firearms dealer” is, to ensure more buyers get background checks. And it creates new federal offences for interstate gun trafficking and “straw purchases” (buying a gun on behalf of someone prohibited from possessing one).
Lawmakers began to realize that “safety is not just good policy, but it’s good politics,” says John Feinblatt of Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-reform group. Americans wanted action. They were angry and frightened after recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. The sense of urgency mattered. Past efforts took months and lost momentum.”
It has been a long wait for good law, but we at PPGV knew it was a long battle when we began. David Hemenway. director of the Harvard Injury Center told us early-on that the US has too many guns and too weak laws. Just now a California study found that one is twice as likely to die of homicide if there is a gun in the home- again showing that guns don’t make you safer. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/P22-0004
PPGV thanks you for helping make our patients safer. Let’s celebrate our victory and ready ourselves for another!