US President Joe Biden on Saturday signed a bipartisan gun safety bill into law, the first major federal gun reform in three decades, days after the Supreme Court expanded gun rights.
“This is monumental day,” Biden said at the White House.
The bill includes provisions to help states keep guns out of the hands of those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others and blocks gun sales to those convicted of abusing unmarried intimate partners.
It does not ban sales of assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines.
Billions of dollars have been allocated to crack down on “straw purchasers” who buy firearms for people not allowed to own them, and to curb gun trafficking.
However, much tougher measures wanted by Biden and other Democrats did not make it in, including a ban on military style rifles often used by the lone gunmen who typically carrying out mass shootings. Also absent is a longtime push for mandatory background checks on all gun purchases.
Reeling off a list of notorious mass shootings, Biden said the message from victims “was ‘do something…, for God’s sake just do something.’ Well today, we did.”
Referring to political gridlock in a near evenly divided Congress, Biden said the new law, which had rare strong support from both Republicans and Democrats, was “monumental.”
“When it seems impossible to get anything done in Washington, we are doing something consequential,” he said. “I know there’s much more work to do and I’m never going to give up.”
As he inked his signature on the document, Biden added again: “God willing, this is going to save a lot of lives.”