Senate Passes Gun Control Legislation with Significant Mental Health Initiative
Last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Safer Communities Act, a bipartisan compromise bill that is the result of negotiations triggered by the school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. The legislation, led by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), a longstanding advocate for gun safety measures who began his advocacy after the school shooting in Newtown, CT, targets gun ownership and enhanced mental health supports. The bill would enhance background checks for gun purchasers under age 21, provide incentive funding to state to implement “red flag” laws, and tighten restrictions on domestic abusers, while investing in community-based violence disruption programs. The bill also provides a one-time $500 million investment to increase the number of school-based mental health personnel, $500 million to diversify and train future personnel through pipeline development, and $1 billion to improve conditions for learning through initiatives such as positive school climate initiatives. The bill also provides $300 million for safety measures in and around schools, school violence prevention, and training for school personnel and students. The bill prohibits Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds from being used to train or equip school personnel with guns. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up and pass the legislation as soon as this weekend.
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