United States: what the new bill against firearms contains

United States: what the new bill against firearms contains

A first for decades. With 65 votes against 33, the United States Senate adopted Thursday evening a bill aimed at restricting access to firearms. As of Tuesday, June 22, Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement to strengthen their control. The House of Representatives must still validate the text this Friday.

If for Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, this proposal remains unquestionably the “most important legislation in almost 30 years”, it paradoxically comes just hours after a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States consecrating on the contrary the carrying of weapons outside.

The judges have indeed invalidated a law of the State of New York on the issuance of permits to carry concealed weapons. While it was previously limited to people able to prove that they needed it to defend themselves, Americans will now have the right to carry a weapon in public.

The NRA (National Rifle Association), a powerful pro-gun lobby, speaks of victory, while for his part, Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, worries about a potential wave of violence by firearms. What does the bill passed by the Senate actually contain? Challenges takes stock before the final verdict of the House of Representatives.

Making Schools Safer

The senators propose to devote $240 million to Project AWARE over four years. This is a program focused on supporting the mental health of schoolchildren. Nearly $28 million will also be earmarked for trauma care in schools. In 2021, 34,000 young people were exposed to gun violence as part of their education, according to a database from the washington post: Forty-two acts of violence were recorded. According to the NGO Gun Violence Archive, 781 children aged 0 to 17 have already lost their lives since the beginning of 2022, victims of firearms.

If in the United States, the killings are frequently perpetrated by young people, the shooting of Uvalde on May 24 confirms this sad reality. The 18-year-old shooter killed nineteen children and two teachers. A heavier toll than the 2018 massacre at Parkland High School (Florida), where seventeen people had lost their lives.

Monitoring youth mental health

The 80-page text intends to reinforce the verification of criminal and psychological backgrounds when buying a weapon. It only concerns people between the ages of 18 and 21. According to the CDC, self-harm and suicide rates among teens increased by 39% between March 2019 and March 2021 in the United States. The authorities will thus benefit from ten working days to examine the files of mental health and juvenile delinquency. In this sense, the senators also encourage the funding of a national suicide prevention hotline to the tune of $150 million.

Since 2018, six of the nine deadliest mass shootings have been committed by people 21 or younger, according to Mother Jones. In this new bill, $60 million will therefore be dedicated to training primary care clinicians in mental health and behavior over five years. Supported by elected officials from the two main parties, the bill finally provides funds to help expand the warning signs, the “red flag laws”, in more than a dozen states. This measure aims to temporarily remove the weapons of people deemed dangerous.

Fight against domestic violence

Finally, the bill intends to put in place a ban on the purchase of firearms by persons convicted of domestic violence. A measure already in force for married abusers or those who have a child with the victim. Now, the text includes separated people, as well as romantic relationships, both current and recent.


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