Biden signs gun safety bill into law, criticizes Supreme Court


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday signed off on the first major federal gun reform in three decades, days after a Supreme Court ruling that expanded the rights of firearm owners.

“God willing, it will save many lives,” Biden said at the White House after signing the bill with his wife Jill at his side.

The bill, which the two parties introduced together, came just weeks after the mass shootings in Ovaldi and Buffalo that killed more than 30 people, including 19 elementary school children.

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The law includes provisions to help states keep weapons out of the hands of those deemed a danger to themselves or others.

The reform came the same week that the Supreme Court expanded the rights of gun owners, saying on Thursday for the first time that the US Constitution protects an individual’s ability to carry a gun in public for self-defense.

“The Supreme Court has made some terrible decisions,” Biden told reporters after that ruling, and issued another on Friday that eliminated the right to abortion across the country.

US President Joe Biden signs S. 2938: The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law from the Roosevelt Room of the White House as First Lady Jill Biden stands next to him in Washington, US, on June 25, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Gun control has long been a contentious issue in the country, with several attempts to place new controls on arms sales failing time after time.

Biden, looking to improve sluggish approval ratings ahead of the November 8 midterm elections to seize control of Congress, has made winning gun control victories part of his campaign for voters.

The new law prohibits the sale of guns to those convicted of unmarried intimate partner abuse and suppresses the sale of guns to buyers convicted of domestic violence. It also provides new federal funding to states that implement “red flag” laws that aim to remove guns from people deemed dangerous to themselves and others.

It does not prohibit the sale of assault rifles or high-capacity magazines. But it is taking some steps on background checks by allowing, for the first time, access to information about serious crimes committed by juveniles.

Biden said before traveling to Germany for the summit of the Group of Seven rich nations.

“I know there is a lot of work to be done, and I will never give up. But this is a historic day.”

He said he will host families of gun violence victims and lawmakers at an event at the White House on July 11 to celebrate the passage of the Gun Safety Act.

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Reportng by Trevor Honeycutt; Additional reporting by Lucia Motikani. Editing by John Stonestreet and Chizu Nomiyama

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