The US Senate has passed a new firearms law, with support from both Republicans and Democrats. This is the first substantial new federal gun control law since the 1990s.
The new firearms law allows states to obtain funding to establish crisis centers to help people with mental health problems. States that do not adopt so-called red flag laws, whereby a judge can deprive a person of a firearm if they pose a danger, can also receive this funding.
The law also improves the national system for background checks on firearms buyers. For example, states are being urged to place more youth files in the system, so that firearms buyers between the ages of 18 and 21 can be better examined.
Billions of dollars are also being made available to make schools more secure and improve mental health facilities.
Biden: ‘Step in the right direction’
President Joe Biden previously called the bill “a step in the right direction”. He would have liked to have passed a stricter gun law, banning all fully automatic weapons, which are often used in mass shootings. However, the Senate did not agree.
The last substantial new federal gun control laws were passed in the mid-1990s. In 1993, the so-called “Brady Act” created a national background check system. In 1994, a ban on assault weapons, including some semi-automatic rifles and pistols, followed. However, that last law expired in 2004 and was not renewed.
New York’s strict gun law declared unfounded
The new law was passed the same day the Supreme Court ruled that a New York state law prohibiting the carrying of a firearm in public for no specific reason was unconstitutional.
Republicans and Democrats have jointly negotiated the content of the new law after a total of 31 people died in shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas last month.