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Senate passes bipartisan gun contol bill: Here’s what is in the Senate’s gun bill — and what was left out.

The Senate late Thursday voted 65 to 33 to pass the bipartisan gun control bill, the most significant legislation addressing guns in nearly 30 years. 

The bill will now be sent back to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to take it up swiftly. Though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been urging Republicans to vote against the bill, it is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled House.

“First thing tomorrow morning, the Rules Committee will meet to advance this life-saving legislation to the floor,” Pelosi said in a statement Thursday night.    

In a statement released after the vote, Mr. Biden called on the House to “promptly vote on this bipartisan bill and send it to my desk.”

“Tonight, after 28 years of inaction, bipartisan members of Congress came together to heed the call of families across the country and passed legislation to address the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” he said. “Families in Uvalde and Buffalo — and too many tragic shootings before — have demanded action. And tonight, we acted.”

Here is what’s in the 80-page Bipartisan Safer Communities Act:

Improves federal background check system’s examination of juvenile records

The bill enhances background checks for firearms buyers under 21 years old by requiring the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to check juvenile and mental health records through local law enforcement or state databases to determine whether a prospective gun buyer under 21 has a possibly disqualifying juvenile record.

Under the plan, the system has up to three business days to conduct an initial search and up to 10 business days to complete additional investigation.

It also provides $200 million for grants to states to upgrade criminal and mental health records for NICS, including grants to help states in providing disqualifying juvenile records.

Clarifies the definition of a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer 

A person who buys and sells guns to “predominantly earn a profit” must register as a Federal Firearm Licensee.

Creates criminal penalties for straw purchases and gun trafficking

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives defines a straw purchase as when a person agrees to buy a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from purchasing a firearm. State laws involving straw purchases vary. 

Closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole”

The plan adds those convicted of domestic violence against a person in a dating relationship — now defined as a “relationship between two individuals who have or have recently had a continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” — to the federal background check system and bars them from having a gun.

But gun rights can be restored for those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence five years after completing their sentence if they haven’t been convicted of another offense.

Incentivizes states to implement state crisis intervention programs

The Senate’s bill provides $750 million for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program for states to create crisis intervention programs.

Under the measure, state crisis intervention court proceedings and related programs include:

  • Mental health courts;
  • Drug courts;
  • Veterans courts;
  • Extreme risk protection order programs, which must include “pre-deprivation and post-deprivation due process rights that prevent any violation or infringement” of the Constitution and the right to be represented by counsel

Improves mental health services for children and families

The legislation requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to give guidance to states on improving access to telehealth for services covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It also strengthens oversight of state implementation of requirements for early and periodic screening, diagnostic and treatment services under Medicaid.

Additionally, the bill boosts access to health care services in schools through guidance to state Medicaid agencies, local educational agencies and school-based entities to support the delivery of medical assistance to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries in school-based settings, in part through the creation of a technical assistance center.

The measure also establishes a Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Evidence-based Practices, which serves as a federal resource to identify and publish online evidence-based practices and recommendations to improve safety. 

It provides $15 billion in federal funding to bolster mental health services and trainings, including:

  • $60 million for primary care training and enhancement to provide mental and behavioral health care training for pediatricians and other primary care physicians working with young populations
  • $80 million for pediatric mental health care access
  • $250 million for enhancing comprehensive community health services
  • $240 million for programs that boost awareness of mental health issues among school-aged children and provide training for adults
  • $250 million for a community violence intervention and prevention initiative
  • $500 million for School Based Mental Health Services Grants
  • $1 billion for Safe Schools and Citizenship Education
  • $300 million for safety measures in and around schools and to provide training to students and school staff

What was left out

The bill does not include more sweeping measures to impose universal background checks or ban the sale of large-capacity magazines. Republicans also said they refused to consider any mandatory waiting period for gun sales or a license requirement to purchase an assault weapon.

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