3 essential reads on what it means

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(The Conversation is an independent, nonprofit source of news, analysis, and commentary from academic experts.)

(THE CONVERSATION) President Joe Biden signed into law a bipartisan bill on June 25, 2022 that is the first significant change to federal gun laws in nearly three decades.

Known as the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the bill was drafted in response to the shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, and was passed by a generally slow Congress.

Although the limited scope of the bill disappointed many people, it strengthens gun control in a number of key areas.


As the bill made its way through Congress, The Conversation published a number of articles examining its provisions and their effectiveness in addressing the gun violence crisis in the United States.

1. Support for state red flag laws

Among the elements of the new law is support for states to pass what are known as “red flag laws.”

John A. Tures, a professor of political science at LaGrange College, writes that these laws allow police to take firearms from people considered a threat to themselves or others and prohibit them from buying guns. fire arms.

To determine whether red flag laws reduce gun deaths overall, Tures looked at states’ gun death rates by whether or not they had a red flag law, in during each of the three years – 2018, 2019 and 2020.

On average, states with red flag laws in 2019 and 2020 had significantly lower gun death rates than states without them. In 2018, the average death rates for the two groups were closer, but states with red flag laws still had a significantly lower rate.

“In 2020, if there were no red flag laws, I estimate that 52,530 Americans would have died by firearm. The actual recorded number was 45,222, indicating that red flag laws have saved 7,308 American lives that year,” Tures writes.

2. What is the “boyfriend escape”?

One of the sticking points in the negotiations over the bill that was eventually resolved was the “boyfriend loophole.”

Under current federal law, April M. Zeoli, a professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University, explains that intimate partner relationships are only defined as those in which two people are or have been married, live or have lived. together as a couple or have a child together.

People who were in a romantic relationship are largely excluded from this definition.

As a result, writes Zeoli, “dating partners are exempt from federal laws that prohibit persons convicted of domestic violence offenses, or those subject to domestic violence restraining orders, from purchasing or possessing a firearm”.

It’s called “the boyfriend’s escape.”

Research suggests that when an abusive male partner has access to a gun, the female partner’s risk of murder increases fivefold.

With Biden signing the bill, the wording extends the prohibition to “those who have or have had an ongoing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”

Although the bill will close the loophole for those convicted of domestic violence crimes, it does not cover restraining order laws.

3. Does the law protect schools?

The new law would provide $1 billion to help schools put in place comprehensive strategies to create safe and healthy learning environments, including $300 million to increase access to mental health services.

Part of the strategy involves a risk assessment.

In the years following the 1999 Columbine shootings, researchers and federal law enforcement agencies studied school shootings and developed risk assessments to assess the likelihood of actual violence by a youth identified as a possible risk.

As Paul Boxer, professor of psychology at Rutgers University – Newark, explains, assessments are conducted by professionals including police officers, teachers and mental health counselors.

Together they determine a young person’s risk of violence.

“These teams may not be able to prevent all possible incidents,” Boxer warns. “Nevertheless, this kind of approach is essential to improving the process of identifying and apprehending potential shooters overall.”

Editor’s note: This story is a summary of articles from The Conversation archives.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/first-bipartisan-gun-control-bill-in-a-generation-signed-into-law-3-essential-reads-on-what-it-means – 185822.

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