WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Saturday signed a gun violence compromise bill passed by Congress, the most significant legislation lawmakers have passed in decades.
“Today, we say ‘More than enough,’” Biden said. “This is a monumental day.”
Biden signed the bipartisan bill, which addresses gun violence, into law in the Roosevelt Room at the White House before departing for Europe.
“Time is of the essence,” Biden said. “Lives will be saved.”
The House of Representatives passed the $13 billion Bipartisan Safer Communities Act bill on Friday, The Associated Press reported. The bill passed the House by a 234-193 margin. Fourteen Republicans joined Democrats in passing the bill.
That came a day after the Senate, with 15 Republicans crossing party lines, passed the measure by a 65-33 vote, The New York Times reported.
The legislation contains enhanced background checks and closes the “boyfriend loophole” that bans gun sales by people convicted of domestic violence.
Citing the families of shooting victims, the president said, “Their message to us was to do something. Well today, we did.”
The bill also toughens requirements for young people to buy guns, according to The Associated Press. Most of the bill’s $13 billion cost will go to bolster mental health programs.
The measure is the first to address gun violence since the assault weapons ban of 1994 expired after 10 years, CNN reported.
Lawmakers began working on the bill after the mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a month ago. That shooting happened 10 days after a gunman killed 10 Black shoppers in Buffalo, New York.
Biden mentioned the families of the shooting victims as he prepared to sign the bill.
“Their message to us was to do something,” Biden said. “Well, today, we did.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill will make the Second Amendment stronger.
“I am proud of these two complementary victories that will make our country freer and safer at the same time,” the Senate minority leader said after the measure passed the upper chamber of Congress. “Law-abiding Americans will go to bed tonight with significantly stronger Second Amendment rights than they had this morning, while new commonsense guardrails around convicted criminals and mental illness are now on their way to becoming law.”
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