“NACCHO thanks Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) for leading a bipartisan group of senators in crafting the first major gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer.
New Bipartisan Law Will Help Bring a Public Health Approach to Addressing Gun Violence
Washington, DC, June 28, 2022 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), on behalf of the nearly 3,000 local health departments across the country, applauds the passage of the Safer Communities Act, bipartisan legislation intended to reduce the threat of gun violence. The legislation passed both chambers of Congress last week, and President Biden signed the bill into law on Saturday.
“NACCHO thanks Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) for leading a bipartisan group of senators in crafting the first major gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer. “The Safer Communities Act takes important steps toward reducing gun violence by investing in violence prevention programs, enacting common-sense rules to prevent individuals at risk of violence to themselves and others from possessing firearms, and expanding access to mental health services in communities and schools.
“Firearm-related injury and death is a preventable public health crisis; that is why NACCHO has repeatedly urged lawmakers to take a public health approach to the violence epidemic, including federal research on gun violence prevention, including suicide prevention, conducting background checks on all gun purchases, and preventing individuals most at risk of violence from purchasing guns.
“We also encourage important community conversations that bring together health officials, government leaders, law enforcement, faith communities, and concerned citizens, including lawful gun owners, to address the social and cultural issues that cause individuals to resort to violence, including racism and xenophobia, which have motivated many high-profile acts of gun violence.
“We hope that this new law is the beginning of important actions to improve the health and safety of all communities.”
The Safer Communities Act will:
- Establish an enhanced background check process for long gun purchasers under age 21.
- Provide federal funding to states to implement Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as “red flag laws.”
- Expand current prohibition, preventing convicted domestic abusers from buying or possessing guns to include those who abused their dating partners.
- Provide federal funding for community violence intervention programs.
- Invest in mental health services through expansion of community mental health services program, school-based mental health support, guidance for states to increase access through telehealth, and other resources.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.