President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence Bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.
“Time is of the essence. Lives will be saved,” he said. Citing the families of shooting victims, the President said, “Their message to us was, ‘Do something.’ How many times did we hear that? ‘Just do something. For God’s sake, just do something.’ Today we did.”
The House gave final approval on Friday, following Senate passage on Thursday, and Mr. Biden acted just before leaving Washington for two summits in Europe.
“Today we say, ‘More than enough,’” Mr. Biden said. “It’s time, when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential.”
The legislation will toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help States put in place “red flag” laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged to be dangerous.
The President called it “a historic achievement.”
Most of its $13 billion cost will help bolster mental health programmes and aid schools, which have been targeted in mass shootings.