US Prez Joe Biden signs landmark gun control law
US President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.
“Lives will be saved,” he said at the White House. Citing the families of shooting victims, the president said, “Their message to us was to do something. Well today, we did.”
The House gave final approval Friday, following Senate passage Thursday, and Biden acted just before leaving Washington for two summits in Europe.
The legislation will toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged to be dangerous.
Most of its $13 billion cost will help bolster mental health programs and aid schools, which have been targeted in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, and elsewhere in mass shootings.
Biden said the compromise hammered out by a bipartisan group of senators “doesn’t do everything I want” but “it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives.”
Biden signed the bill just before he departed Washington for a summit of the Group of Seven leading economic powers — the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — in Germany. He will travel later to Spain for a NATO meeting.