Last June 2022, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The SCA was the largest GVP bill passed in nearly 30 years. Its passage must be celebrated. Lives will be saved. What is the substance?

ENHANCED BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR BUYERS UNDER 21. There can be a three business day investigative period for buyers under the age of 21 that will require checking with state and local law enforcement, and either state or local courts before a sale proceeds.
SUPPORT STATE RED FLAG LAWS: Provide $750 million to support crisis intervention services, including the implementation of state Red Flag Laws.
DISARM DOMESTIC ABUSERS: Expand current prohibition preventing domestic abusers from buying or possessing guns to include not only those who abused their partners, but also those who abused their current or recent dating partners.
CLARIFY WHO MUST RUN A BACKGROUND CHECK: Clarify what it means to be “engaged in the business” of selling guns, so that it is clearer when unlicensed people selling guns to strangers are required to obtain a Federal Firearms License and run background checks on all sales.
CRACK DOWN ON GUN TRAFFICKING: Establish first ever federal laws against interstate gun trafficking and straw purchasing to stop flow of illegal guns into cities.
FUND COMMUNITY VIOLENCE INTERVENTION: Provide $250 million for community violence intervention programs.
INVEST IN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: Expand community mental health services, fund school-based mental health services, invest in tele-health mental health services to expand access.
PROVIDE SCHOOL SAFETY FUNDING: Fund school violence prevention efforts, training, and then implementation of safety measures at primary and secondary schools.
NOTE: THANK YOU to Everytown for the above synopsis of the SCA.

WHAT IS NOT IN THE SCA. (From the New York Times, 23 June 2022) “The bill does not include more sweeping measures to impose universal background checks or ban the sale of large capacity magazines. Republicans also said they refused to consider any mandatory waiting period for gun sales or a license requirement to purchase an assault weapon.”

MY ANALYSIS: I applaud the actions. Lives will be saved. However, the following actions are necessary, all of which will still allow for responsible persons to purchase a reasonable weapon: 1) Banning of assault weapons; 2) Mandating smaller gun magazine size to 10 rounds; 3) Mandating training for gun usage; 4) Licensing and registration of all guns; 5) Mandating renewal of gun licensing every three years; 6) Mandating Red Flag Laws in all states; 7) Prevention of teachers carrying guns in schools; 8) Funding of police officers in schools; 9) Mandatory waiting period for gun sales.

IN THE SPIRIT OF PSALM 82, we the people are called to be judges of righteousness for the sake of safety and sacredness of human life. As we expect the legal system to provide safety, as Christians and individuals, we must also assume responsibility for the care and protection of human life. We must demand firmer and more expansive GVP laws. We are also judges who issue verdicts in reverance for life.

Blessings and Peace!

Ron Letnes (Rev. Dr.)