Remarks by President Biden at Signing of S.2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
8:36 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, folks. Yesterday, I spoke about the Supreme Court’s shocking decision striking down Roe v. Wade. We’ve had a lot of discussion about that in our whole household. We think it’s a — anyway.
Jill and I know how painful and devastating a decision is for so many Americans — and I mean so many Americans. The decision is implemented by states. My administration is going to focus on how they administer it and whether or not they violate other laws, like deciding to not allow people across state lines to get public health services. And we’re going to take actions to protect women’s rights and reproductive health.
This morning, though, I’m here — we’re here to — on a critical issue: gun violence.
You know, I’m about to sign into law a bipartisan safety legi- — gun safety legislation. And time is of the essence. Lives will be saved.
When we return from Europe, Jill and I will be hosting an event in the White House on July 11th to mark this historic achievement with members who voted for these families and the families who, in fact, were victimized by the gun shooting that we’ve seen this so — so incredible to see so much of it of late.
And advocates have worked really hard to do something about it. I’ve been at this work for a long, long time, and I know how hard it is, and I know what it takes to get it done. It was there — I was there 30 years ago, the last time this nation passed meaningful gun safety laws. And I’m here today for the most significant law to be passed since then, since — for the last 30 years.
I’d like to thank the leaders and members of the House and Senate for working together to get this done. I especially want to thank the families that Jill and I — many of whom we sat with for hours on end across the country. So many we’ve gotten to know who lost their souls and — to an epidemic of gun violence. They lost their child, their husband, their wife. Nothing is going to fill that void in their hearts, but they led the way so other families will not have the experience and the pain and trauma that they had to live through.
From Columbine to Sandy Hook, to Charleston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Atlanta, Buffalo, Uvalde, and for the shootings that happen every day in the streets that are mass shootings — and we don’t even hear about them, the number of people killed every day in the streets — their message to us was: “Do something.” How many times we heard that? “Just do something.” For God’s sake, just do something.
Well, today, we did. While this bill doesn’t do everything I want, it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives. It funds crisis intervention, including red-flag laws. It keeps guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and to others. And it finally closes what is known as the “boyfriend loophole.” So if you assault your boyfriend or girlfriend, you can’t buy a gun or own a gun.
It requires young people ages 18 to 21 to undergo enhanced background checks. It includes the first-ever federal law that makes gun trafficking and straw purchases distinct federal crimes for the first time. It clarifies who needs to register as a federally licensed gun dealer, and run background checks before selling a single weapon.
You know, this is — also provides historic funding to address the youth mental health crisis in this country, especially — especially the trauma experienced by the survivors of this gun violence.
Look, you know, it invests in antiviolence programs that work — that work directly with the people who are most likely to commit these crimes or become victims of gun crimes. Today, we say more than “enough.” We say more than “enough.” It’s time — when it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential. If we can reach compromise on guns, we ought to be able to reach compromise in other critical issues, from veterans’ healthcare to cutting-edge American innovation, and so much more.
I know there’s much more work to do, and I’m never going to give up. But this is a monumental day. God bless us with the strength to continue to work to get the work that’s left undone done, and the lives lost that can’t be saved that obviously are gone but will be an inspiration for us to do more.
I’m now going to sign this bill into law.
(The bill is signed.)
God willing, it’s going to save a lot of lives. Thank you all so very much.
Q Mr. President, will you take a couple questions?
THE FIRST LADY: Congratulations.
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks.
I have a helicopter waiting for me to take off. We’re going to have plenty of time to talk about a lot of this.
Q Do you think the Supreme Court is broken, in your view?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the Supreme Court has made some terrible decisions. Thank you.
8:42 A.M. EDT