FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) issued the following statement after President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The House and Senate passed the legislation late last week before it went immediately to the President’s desk. This is the most significant piece of gun violence prevention legislation passed by Congress in the last three decades. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will help save lives by keeping weapons out of the hands of dangerous or unstable individuals, strengthening mental health services, and bolstering school safety.
“For the first time in thirty years, we have finally passed gun control measures to address the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in this country,” said Rep. Barragán. “In recent weeks, communities in Uvalde and Buffalo have joined the long list of American towns and cities impacted by the horrific epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence. This epidemic continues to steal lives, devastate families, and shatter communities across the country. The Supreme Court’s dangerous ruling last week directly threatens California’s strong gun violence prevention policies that keep dangerous weapons off our streets. While this law does not go as far as I would like or that I believe is necessary to truly address the problem – the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will save lives and implement common-sense measures to curb gun violence and keep weapons away from those who pose a danger to themselves and others.
“This is by no means the final step to secure our schools, our streets, and our homes from gun violence, but it is an important step forward to address America’s gun violence epidemic. Everyone in this country deserves to feel safe, and I will continue to fight in Congress to pass red flag laws at the federal level, ban AR-15s and other weapons of war, restrict magazine capacity, and require background checks on all gun purchases.”
Gun violence in America is responsible for more than 45,000 deaths per year, including almost 3,500 in California alone. Every day, 30 Americans are murdered with a gun – a number that rises to more than 100 when counting suicides and accidental shootings. Communities across the nation have been torn apart by nearly 300 mass shootings since 2009 – attacks that have killed more than 1,500 people and wounded 1,000 more.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will implement common-sense, bipartisan measures to protect America’s children, keep our communities safe and curb gun violence across our country. Some general provisions include:
- Support for State Crisis Intervention Orders: Incentivizing states to implement extreme risk protection order laws to keep weapons out of the hands of individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others.
- Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence: Closing the “Boyfriend Loophole” by adding convicted abusers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
- Penalties for Gun Trafficking and Straw Purchases: Preventing dangerous individuals from illegally evading background checks by establishing new federal criminal offenses that cover straw purchasing and trafficking.
- Enhanced Background Checks for Buyers Under 21: Requiring longer, enhanced background checks of up to ten days for gun buyers under 21 years of age.
- Community Violence Prevention Initiatives: Providing $250 million in funding for community-based violence prevention initiatives.
The bill also supports major investments in children and family mental health services, including:
- Child and Family Mental Health Services: Improving access to mental health services for children, youth and families through Medicaid, CHIP and other programs.
- Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic: Expands the existing Medicaid CCBHC demonstration program to all states to increase access to community-based behavioral health services.
- School-based mental health: Helps states to implement, enhance, and expand school-based health programs under Medicaid through updated guidance, technical assistance, and state planning grants.
- Telemental health services for children: Requires CMS to provide guidance to states on how they can increase access to behavioral health services through telehealth under Medicaid and CHIP.
- Support for states to expand mental health services: Provides $250 million for states, DC, and territories to enhance comprehensive community mental health services.
- Training for pediatric providers: Appropriates $60 million over five years for training in mental health for primary care clinicians who treat children and youth.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline/9-8-8: Appropriates $150 million to support implementation of the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline that provides 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Finally, the bill supports significant funding for schools to expand mental health, safety, and other supportive services, including:
- Investments in School Safety: Provides $300 million in funding through the STOP School Violence Act to institute safety measures in and around schools.
- School Based Mental Health Services and Staff: Provides $500 million through the School Based Mental Health Services Grant Program to increase the number of qualified mental health service providers that provide school based mental health services to students in school districts with demonstrated need.
- Training and Pipeline Development for School Based Mental Health Staff: Provides $500 million in funding for School Based Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Grant. This money will help train and diversify the pipeline of school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists.
- Improving Conditions for Student Learning: Provides $1 billion in funding through Title IV-A to support a variety of activities to improve conditions for student learning, including developing positive school climates through evidence-based practices.
- After and Out-Of School Programs: Provides $50 million in funding to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which funds extracurricular, after school and summer programs, with a focus of new funding to target programs for older youth.
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Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security, and on the House Energy and Commerce Health, Energy, and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees.