WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, legislation introduced by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) that will reduce violence and protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
“I am proud of my work to advance commonsense, bipartisan legislation that improves mental health care, strengthens school safety, and saves lives while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding North Carolinians,” said Senator Tillis. “I am grateful for the work of my colleagues Senators Cornyn, Murphy, and Sinema to find common ground and produce solutions, and I look forward to seeing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act signed into law soon.”
Major Provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
Support for mental health programs
The BSCA invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs. It expands a highly successful Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics program that has already demonstrated extraordinary success, leading to fewer ER visits for behavioral health and less time spent in correctional facilities.
School safety measures
The BSCA invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.
Due process protections for states that have crisis intervention order programs
The BSCA provides grant funding for all states, regardless of whether they have or intend to pass a crisis intervention order program. It does not compel or require any state to have a crisis intervention order program.
Some current state-run crisis intervention order programs have rightfully raised concerns about inadequate due process protections for respondents. The BSCA enacts guardrails to ensure proper due process protections for states in order to be eligible for federal funding, including the right to an in-person hearing, unbiased adjudicators, knowledge of opposing evidence, right to present evidence, and right to confront adverse witnesses. Additionally, all claims will be made under the penalty of perjury, and there will be penalties for those who abuse the program and make false allegations.
Strengthening existing laws
The BSCA works to strengthen existing laws by:
- Encouraging states to upload juvenile records into the NICS to ensure complete criminal and mental health history is considered.
- Cracking down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.
- Protecting domestic violence victims by making sure convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders are included in NICS, including those involved in serious relationships.