US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Illinois Dick Durbin
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after the bipartisan group of Senators working on legislation to help keep America’s children and communities safe from the gun violence epidemic released legislative text:
“This bipartisan agreement will not end gun violence, but it is an important step towards making our nation safer.
“I want to commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working tirelessly to find compromise and produce legislative text to address our nation’s gun violence epidemic. While this legislation does not accomplish everything I wanted, we cannot let the perfect Congressional response be the enemy of the good. This result represents a bipartisan compromise that will make the most significant gun safety reforms and violence reduction investments in decades. Now, let’s get it passed through the Senate without delay.”
Specifically, the bill will:
Provide more than $4.5 billion in supplemental funds to Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), and the Department of Education, including:
$250 million over five years in DOJ grants for community violence intervention (CVI) programs, which would double existing DOJ annual funding for CVI;
$750 million over five years in DOJ Byrne-JAG grants to states for crisis intervention programs, including implementation of red flag laws;
$3 billion for school and community mental health grants and activities, including at least $28 million over four years for the Trauma Support in Schools program that Durbin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) created in 2018 to help break the cycle of trauma and violence;
$300 million over five years in DOJ school safety grants for training, technology, and security infrastructure; and,
$100 million for the FBI to increase their capacity to conduct NICS background checks.
Take a significant step toward closing the “boyfriend loophole” by prohibiting gun possession for five years by persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence who are in a current or recent former dating relationship with the victim.
Create new federal criminal offenses for straw purchasing and firearms trafficking, which will provide a significant federal deterrent for this behavior.
Redefine and clarify what it means to be “engaged in the business” of dealing guns, which triggers the requirement to conduct background checks on prospective purchasers.
Require an enhanced background check process before long guns can be sold to prospective buyers who are between the ages of 18-20.
Expand nationwide an innovative payment model, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, that boosts access to behavioral health care services.
Increase the delivery of mental health care in schools and communities, including through telehealth, by updating Medicaid policies and guidance to clarify the availability of coverage for key services for youth.