WASHINGTON (AP) — Highlights of the bipartisan gun violence bill passed by the Senate on Thursday and the House expected to pass Friday:
— Comprehensive background checks: State and local youth and mental health records of gun buyers will be part of federal background checks for buyers ages 18 to 20. Maximum three days for file collection extended to 10 days to search youth data. If 10 days pass without resolution, the sale will continue.
— “Boyfriend loophole”: Convicted perpetrators of domestic violence have refused weapons if they have a current or previous “ongoing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature” with the victim. The right of abusers to buy firearms will be restored after five years if no more violent crimes are committed. Firearms are currently banned from domestic violence if they are married, cohabiting or have a child with the victim.
— “Red Flag” Laws: Federal aid to the 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, which have laws that help authorities get court orders to temporarily remove weapons from people deemed dangerous. Those states would need strong procedures to challenge the taking of firearms. Other states could use money for crisis intervention programs.
— Mental health: expands community behavioral health clinics. Helps states strengthen mental health programs in schools, increase distance mental health consultations.
— Education: increase spending on mental health in schools, crisis intervention, violence prevention programmes, training of mental health professionals and safety in school.
– Federally licensed gun dealers: Current law requires people who “engage in the business of selling” guns to be licensed, which means they must perform background checks. Bill defines that as selling firearms “mainly to make a profit” in an effort to prosecute those who evade the requirement.
— Gun smugglers: Creates federal crimes for arms dealers and “straw buyers” who buy guns for people who wouldn’t pass background checks. Penalties up to 25 years in prison. Such offenders are now mainly prosecuted for violating paperwork.
— Cost: The unbiased Congressional Budget Office estimates $13 billion, primarily for mental health care and schools. That’s more than paid for by further delaying a 2020 regulation that never went into effect that would require drug manufacturers to give discounts to Medicare recipients. That regulation would increase federal Medicare costs.
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