Gun Violence Prevention Bills: A Legislation Round-Up

June 23, 2022

By a Biometrica staffer

By now, most of us have probably read that on Tuesday, June 21, Senate bargainers reached agreement on an incremental yet necessary bipartisan gun violence bill. The bill is in response to recent deadly mass shootings in Texas and New York and aims at curbing gun violence. While some critics of the bill have pointed out that it does not have any “game changing” steps, it does make it tougher to buy firearms for some young buyers and those considered a threat to themselves or others. The bill also tries to address concerns of school safety, which is still firmly on the minds of citizens across the nation after the horrific shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde last month.

In this piece, we examine a few other bills dealing with the subject of gun violence that are in the works, and could further strengthen laws to rein in this tragic epidemic, if passed.

But before we move on, here’s a quick recap of what’s in the bipartisan bill Senate bargainers reached agreement over on Tuesday. To begin with, the bill gives more time for authorities to conduct background checks of those between the ages of 18-20, and requires the check to include their juvenile crime data and mental health records. However, once the process’ newly proposed ten-day maximum period lapses, a buyer can acquire a weapon even if the background check isn’t complete.

The bill also calls for grants to help states enforce or enact “red flag” laws that allow authorities to get court orders that let them temporarily take guns from people deemed dangerous. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such statutes, but some lack funds to enforce them robustly, the Associated Press report says. The bill proposes $750 million that could go towards helping states with red flag laws, PBS’ Lisa Desjardins said in a series of tweets.

It also proposes measures to further tackle straw purchases — i.e. the act of buying a gun for someone who is ineligible to do so themselves — through tougher penalties. An increased number of current or former romantic partners convicted of domestic abuse or with restraining orders filed against them by their victims will be barred from buying guns. In effect, the bill proposes up to 15 years in prison for illegally buying a gun for someone else, upping that to 25 years if the gun is used in a felony, trafficking, or terrorism related charge.

Support for curbing gun violence hits the highest point in a decade, a recent poll by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist found. The 59%-to-35% margin is the widest in favor of controlling gun violence recorded in a decade in the Marist poll, though the numbers are similar to what Marist has found over the last four years since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, NPR said in an article. There are, indeed, several bills in the works in the House and the Senate that aim to further tackle the nation’s gun violence epidemic. We’ll examine a few that were proposed over the past two months in the following section, including a couple of resolutions.

In The Pipeline

H.Res.1144 Expressing support for the designation of June 3, 2022, as “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” and June 2022 as “National Gun Violence Awareness Month”

The resolution in brief: It supports the designation of National Gun Violence Awareness Month and the designation of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

It was introduced in the House on May 27, just a few days after the Uvalde shooting and has 41 cosponsors currently.

The resolution calls on the people of the country to:

  • promote greater awareness of gun violence and gun safety
  • wear orange, the color that hunters wear to show that they are not targets, on “National Gun Violence Awareness Day”
  • concentrate heightened attention on gun violence during the summer months, when gun violence typically increases
  • bring community members and leaders together to discuss ways to make communities safer

Related bills include: H.Res.437, S.Res.242, and S.Res.651.

You can find the full text of the act here.

H.Res.1165 Declaring gun violence a public health crisis

The resolution in brief: It declares gun violence a public health crisis in the United States, and supports the resolutions drafted, introduced, and adopted by cities, localities, and states across the nation declaring gun violence a public health crisis or emergency.

It was introduced in the House on June 9 and has 46 cosponsors currently.

The resolution urges a coordinated whole-of-government effort to addressing the gun violence public health crisis and ensuring the safety of all children. It also urges the Surgeon General to issue a report on firearm injuries and violence prevention.

You can find the full text of the act here.

H.R.7859 PREP for All Students Act of 2022

The bill in brief: As the short title states, it aims to promote responsible emergency protocols for all students. In broader terms, the aim of the bill is to create a Council on Emergency Response Protocols to ensure the establishment of accessible, developmentally appropriate, culturally aware, and trauma-informed emergency response protocols in public schools, early child care and education settings, and institutions of higher education, and for other purposes.

It was introduced in the House on May 19. Related bills include S.4259.

You can find the full text of the act here.

H.R.8009 Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2022

The bill in brief: Like the previous one, this also aims at improving school safety.

It was introduced in the House on June 9.

You can find the full text of the act here.

H.R.7819 Accountability for Online Firearms Marketplaces Act of 2022

The bill in brief: Aims to amend the Communications Decency Act to remove immunity for online firearms marketplaces, and for other purposes.

It was introduced in the House on May 18. The reason why this bill is important, in its own words, is because online marketplaces make it easier for those who are prohibited from purchasing guns to do so. “Online firearms marketplaces facilitate such sales because while Federal law requires licensed gun dealers to perform background checks on prospective buyers, it does not require unlicensed sellers to do so,” the bill continues.

You can find the full text of the act here.

S.4238 Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act of 2022

The bill in brief: To put it simply, the purpose of this bill is, as the name suggests, to prevent gun trafficking.

It was introduced in the Senate on May 17. This bill seeks to amend Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code. For instance, it seeks to review the penalty structure that the Federal sentencing guidelines currently provide based on the number of firearms involved in the offense.

You can find the full text of the act here.

S.4402 — Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods Act of 2022

The bill in brief: To direct the Attorney General to establish a grant program to establish, implement, and administer the violent incident clearance and technology investigative method, and for other purposes.

It was introduced in the Senate on June 6. The short title of the bill is “VICTIM Act of 2022.”

You can find the full text of the act here.