Giffords Releases Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Implementation Recommendations
Washington DC — Today, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released a comprehensive memo with recommendations on how to best implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA).
Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director, Giffords:
“After nearly 30 years of inaction, Congress finally passed a major piece of gun safety legislation in June. Now that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has been signed into law, it is up to the Biden Administration to make sure that the law is properly implemented so that as many lives are saved as possible. New resources made available by the law must be directed towards evidence-informed interventions. New firearm safety provisions must be clarified through guidance and regulation. And new background check requirements must be enforced through oversight and technical assistance. Today’s guidance released by Giffords will help with the implementation of this law, an important step forward to end gun violence.”
In the memo, Giffords recommends the following:
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) should issue a new rule clarifying who qualifies as a firearms dealer under the new law, as well as a rule clarifying the definition of “dating relationship.”
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which runs the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) used to vet gun purchasers, must create a new process for background checks for people under age 21. The ATF must also inform gun dealers about their new responsibilities when a gun buyer is under 21.
- The Office of the Deputy Attorney General should issue new policy memoranda regarding prosecuting straw purchasers and gun traffickers to ensure that law enforcement focuses on the greatest sources of illegal crime guns and penalties do not disproportionately affect individuals who have straw purchased firearms due to coercion, people of color, and other marginalized groups
- The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs should direct the $250 million for community violence intervention to evidence-informed, community-centered programs in cities with the highest levels of gun violence, and also allow this funding to be used to support state-wide community violence intervention and prevention offices and coalitions.
- The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) should issue guidance to assist states with passage and implementation of extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws, including issuing guidance about the types of ERPO laws that qualify for federal grants and providing training, technical assistance, and best practices to states regarding ERPO laws.
- The Department of Health and Human Services should prioritize funding available in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for grantees who serve populations most at risk of violence and trauma, as well as expand eligibility for hospital-based violence intervention programs.
Additional recommendations and the full memo can be found here.
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