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NEW GIFFORDS REPORT: Implementing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

Report includes foreword from Senator Chris Murphy

Washington DC — Today, GIFFORDS Law Center released a new report analyzing the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) one year after it became law. 

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“I will never forget standing in the Rose Garden in 2013 with then-President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the families of Sandy Hook victims after the Manchin-Toomey background checks bill was blocked by a filibuster. 10 years later we beat the gun lobby and passed the first federal gun safety bill in nearly 30 years. This is only the first step forward to stopping gun violence in the United States. We will not stop fighting until we create a future free from gun violence.”

Senator Chris Murphy:

“As we mark one year since passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, let the lesson be that it is not only necessary to find bipartisan solutions to the challenges our nation faces, it is also very possible. It is possible to negotiate with colleagues across the aisle in good faith. It is possible to achieve compromise. It is possible to put aside politics and get things done for the people who send us to Washington DC to not only improve their lives, but also to save their lives.”

Lindsay Nichols, Policy Director, GIFFORDS Law Center:

“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was a monumental step forward in the fight to stop gun violence. Its passage ended a nearly 30 year logjam of congressional inaction. While not sufficient, it is already saving lives. GIFFORDS will continue to work with the administration to ensure the implementation of the law continues to be as strong and effective as it can be. This law is only the beginning of what is needed to address the gun violence epidemic in the United States.”

Read the full report here.

Shortly after the law was enacted, GIFFORDS released a memo with  implementation recommendations.  GIFFORDS later provided additional guidance about how ATF should undergo rulemaking to clarify the new definition of who is considered “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, as well as the importance of utilizing the funding provided to the Department of Education for school-based violence intervention and prevention.

Toplines from the report:

  • Background Checks: The BSCA enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21. 
    • In the past year, the FBI conducted more than 89,000 expanded National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks for firearm purchasers under 21 and denied more than 160 firearm transactions solely because of the BSCA. 
    • Implementation Recommendations: 
      • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) should issue new rules to update dealers’ responsibilities.
      • ATF should help stakeholders understand how the new law works in conjunction with state gun laws.
      • The FBI should issue new rules for NICS regarding background checks for people under 21.
  • Crisis Intervention: The BSCA created the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program, funding it with $750 million through FY-26. 
    • In the past year, 46 states, four US territories, and Washington DC applied for and were awarded funding under this program—a total of $241 million across these 51 jurisdictions.  
    • Implementation Recommendations: 
      • States and territories should pass and implement ERPO laws.
      • Awardees should engage regularly with the technical assistance advisors.
  • Community Violence Intervention: The BSCA allocated $250 million to the Department of Justice’s Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative. 
    • The DOJ awarded a total of $100 million to 53 cities and nonprofits in September 2022 and more funding is in process. 
    • Implementation Recommendations:
      • The federal government should allocate more funding to CVI work. 
      • The federal government should establish a federal Office of Community Violence Intervention. 
  • Intimate Partner Violence: The BSCA reduces access to guns for those convicted of abusing dating partners, addressing a key gap in federal law.
    • Prosecutors and ATF agents have been trained on the new law, and there are ongoing efforts to ensure that dating relationships are documented in local police reports and court records.
    • Implementation Recommendations:
      • Agencies should ensure all stakeholders in the legal system better understand the expanded policy.
      • State and local law enforcement should be trained on firearm relinquishment. 
      • ATF should clarify the precise definition of “dating relationship.”
  • Gun Trafficking: The BSCA established federal statutes to clearly define and penalize gun trafficking and straw purchasing.
    • At least 18 cases were filed between August 2, 2022, and February 10, 2023, charging 35 defendants with offenses under the new statutes. 
    • Implementation Recommendations:
      • Congress should ensure that the BSCA’s equity-first sentencing guideline amendments go into effect. 
      • The federal government should fund ATF to investigate gun trafficking channels.
      • US attorneys should work with law enforcement to target the largest crime gun sources.
  • School-Based Intervention and Prevention Programs: The BSCA appropriated more than $2 billion to advance school-based efforts to prevent gun violence through four federal programs.
    • The Department of Education (DOE) announced nearly $1 billion in Stronger Connections grants to state education agencies and awarded $286 million in mental health services grants.
    • Implementation Recommendations
      • The DOE should provide guidance reiterating the role school-based programs play in reducing gun violence.
      • The DOE should emphasize that firearm purchases and training are a prohibited use of all DOE grant funds.
  • Gun Dealer Licensing: The BSCA updated the language about which gun sellers need a license, significantly reducing the size of the background check loophole.
    • Prosecutions for engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license increased 52%. 
    • Implementation Recommendations:
      • The DOJ and ATF should clarify precisely who is engaged in the business of dealing in firearms and place parameters around the exceptions.
      • Congress should fully close the loophole and ensure that background checks are required for every gun sale. 


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