Late Monday evening the Senate released the text of the highly-anticipated “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.” Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Thom Tills (R-NC), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) spearheaded the negotiations resulting in the 80-page bill.

What is in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act?

Red Flag Laws

Gun rights activists worried about the proposed Red Flag laws that were likely to come out of the deal. The text of the bill promises to protect an American’s right to due process. However, the bill fails to outline specifically what’s required to protect a person’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

The bill explicitly states an American has a right to an attorney during the proceedings. The problem? You would have to pay for your own attorney and no public defender is available.

Enhanced Background Checks

The bill also includes enhanced background checks for those under the age of 21.

Closing the So-Called “Boyfriend Loophole”

Although the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act redefines who is a domestic partner, the bill fails to provide specific guidelines.

Redefining a Federal Firearms Licensee

What’s alarming is the Senate’s bill also redefines who is considered a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). If you’re looking to liquidate your gun collection or want to sell firearms that you inherited, you’re deemed an FFL and are subjected to the same laws a gun dealer is.

Changing Penalties for Straw Purchases

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act increases the penalties for those convicted of purchasing a firearm on behalf of a prohibited possessor.

The person’s sentence can be lenient depending on their background and history.

Pro-Gun Organization’s Thoughts on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

In a statement, the National Rifle Association slammed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act for failing to address violent crime:

The NRA will support legislation that improves school security, promotes mental health services, and helps reduce violent crime. However, we will oppose this gun control legislation, because it falls short at every level. It does little to truly address violent crime while opening the door to unnecessary burdens on the exercise of Second Amendment freedom by law-abiding gun owners.
This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions – inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.
Decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Heller and McDonald cases make clear that the Second Amendment is an individual constitutional freedom. We will always fight for those freedoms – and the fundamental values we have defended for over 150 years.  
Gun Owners of America’s Executive Vice President, Erich Pratt, chided Republican senators for bending a knee to the gun control-seeking Democrats:

Once again, so-called ‘conservative’ Senators are making clear they believe that the rights of American citizens can be compromised away.  Let me be clear, they have NO AUTHORITY to compromise with our rights, and we will not tolerate legislators who are willing to turn gun owners into second-class citizens.  GOA fully opposes this unconstitutional legislation and will continue to encourage our millions of members to make their voices heard to their elected officials on this bill.

Firearms Policy Coalition renamed the bill:

Updates to Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

We are updating this story in real-time.

Senate Agrees to Move Forward on Discussion

Late Tuesday night, the Senate voted 64 to 34 to discuss the bill. The “yes” votes included 14 Republicans:

  • Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
  • Joni Ernst (IA)
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK)
  • Todd Young (IN)
  • Thom Tillis (NC)
  • Richard Burr (NC)
  • Susan Collins (ME)
  • Mitt Romney (UT)
  • Bill Cassidy (LA)
  • Rob Portman (OH)
  • Lindsey Graham (SC)
  • Roy Blunt (MO)

All of the GOP’s “aye” votes came from senators retiring at the end of the term or not up for re-election this cycle.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein Introduces Amendment to Raise the Age for ‘Assault Weapons’

What’s In the Senate’s ‘Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’?

On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced an amendment to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Feinstein’s amendment bars those under the age of 21 from purchasing “assault weapons.”

“The Senate gun safety bill is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address the major problem of teenagers owning weapons of war,” Feinstein said in a statement. “It makes no sense that it’s illegal for someone under 21 to buy a handgun or even a beer, yet can legally buy an assault weapon.  My amendment is a commonsense fix with broad public support that should receive bipartisan backing and I hope that it’s allowed a vote.”

According to the senator’s office, her amendment has support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American School Counselor Association, and the American Federation of Teachers.

Feinstein’s amendment means the bill is likely dead on arrival.

Sen. Rand Paul Plans to Introduce Amendments to Counter the ‘Constitutional Deficiences’ In the Bill

On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul explained his concerns over the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The senator zeroed in on the Red Flag portion of the bill.

In a thread, Paul explained why he will not vote for the bill:

More on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

BREAKING: Bipartisan group of senators come to a gun control agreement

Senate Gun Control Deal Is Now Stalled Over Unrelated Issue

Concealed Carry Reciprocity by State