August 10, 2023
Less than two weeks after the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, in May 2022, the third-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history claimed the lives of 21 people in Uvalde, Texas, including 19 children. Following decades of inaction, these horrific events spurred action in Congress. Responding to calls from victims' families and gun violence prevention activists, President Joe Biden and Democratic senators, including Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and Republican senators such as Texas Sen. John Cornyn and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis reached across the aisle to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA)—the most significant gun violence reduction legislation in 30 years.The BSCA demonstrates that it is possible for Congress to come together and pass legislation to curb gun violence. It is an important first step to addressing gun violence as the nation witnesses its devastating toll in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Now, however, progress must breed progress. By passing the BSCA, Congress laid the foundation for what must be a relentless campaign to combat America's gun violence epidemic with robust measures, including reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons, requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, instituting safe storage requirements, and making targeted efforts to address the epidemic's root causes. In order to build upon the success of the BSCA and effectively make the case for additional federal legislation, policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels must ensure that the BSCA's policies are properly implemented and that its billions of dollars in investments are successfully leveraged to reduce violence in U.S. communities.