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President Joe Biden Signs Bipartisan Gun Safety Bill into Law: 'Lives Will Be Saved'

·4-min read
President Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

Joe Biden has taken action after another wave of deadly mass shootings.

On Saturday, the president, 79, signed S. 2938, otherwise known as the "Bipartisan Safer Communities Act," which enacts commonsense gun laws and provides funding for mental health support and anti-violence programs.

"I'm about to sign into law a bipartisan gun safety legislation. And time is of the essence. Lives will be saved," Biden told reporters before putting his signature on the bill in the White House's Roosevelt Room.

RELATED: Senate's Proposed Gun Safety Bill Closes 'Boyfriend Loophole,' Includes Background Checks

He recalled his many visits with survivors and families of gun violence victims from the ongoing mass shooting epidemic that has swept the United States over the years.

"Their message to us was: 'Do something.' How many times we heard that? 'Just do something. For God's sake, just do something,'" he said. "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."

Uvalde, TX May 24, 2022 Shooting at Robb Elementary School kills 19 students and 2 teachers. Early stages outside the school. Credit: Uvalde Leader News free of charge.  Contact: Meghann Garcia: mgarcia@ulnnow.com 830 278 3335
Uvalde, TX May 24, 2022 Shooting at Robb Elementary School kills 19 students and 2 teachers. Early stages outside the school. Credit: Uvalde Leader News free of charge. Contact: Meghann Garcia: mgarcia@ulnnow.com 830 278 3335

Uvalde Leader News

The bill "enhances certain restrictions and penalties on firearms purchases; promotes evidence-based best practices for school safety; authorizes grants to expand access to mental health services; and appropriates emergency funding for mental health resources and school safety measures," according to a White House briefing.

For more on the bipartisan gun safety bill, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

It includes red-flag laws that keep guns from those who are dangers to themselves and others, including closing the "boyfriend loophole," meaning people who assault their significant other cannot buy or own a gun.

RELATED: Sen. Amy Klobuchar Opens Up About Her 10-Year Quest to Close the 'Boyfriend Loophole' in Gun Legislation

Additionally, the legislation requires people ages 18 to 21 to undergo thorough background checks to obtain a gun and classifies gun trafficking and straw purchases as federal crimes. It also clarifies who is required to register as a federally licensed gun dealer and run background checks before selling a weapon.

"I know there's much more work to do, and I'm never going to give up. But this is a monumental day," Biden said. "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."

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden greet Mandy Gutierrez, the Priciple of Robb Elementary School, as he and First Lady Jill Biden pay their in Uvalde, Texas on May 29, 2022. - Biden is heading to Uvalde, Texas to pay his respects following a school shooting. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden greet Mandy Gutierrez, the Priciple of Robb Elementary School, as he and First Lady Jill Biden pay their in Uvalde, Texas on May 29, 2022. - Biden is heading to Uvalde, Texas to pay his respects following a school shooting. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

Joe and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will celebrate the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act with a July 11 event at the White House for members of Congress who voted for the bill, as well as the families of gun violence victims.

Actor Matthew McConaughey reacted to the signing on Saturday with a social media post captioned "America... the land of AND."

Calling the bill "a reasonable and holistic step towards addressing America's gun violence epidemic" he wrote that it's about political parties compromising to save lives.

"While this bill isn't perfect, it is a shining example of a great American potential and political virtue: the act of compromise and validating an opposing viewpoint," he wrote in a series of slides on Instagram.

McConaughey added that the country is a place "where we have Freedom AND Responsibility, Rights AND Duties, Opportunity, AND Obligations."

The president has recently ramped up the call for commonsense gun laws after the Robb Elementary School shooting last month in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 dead, including 19 children and two adults.

Earlier this month in a primetime address to the nation, he called on Congress to pass "rational, commonsense measures" by reinstating a nationwide assault weapons ban and instituting a number of other gun reform measures.

RELATED VIDEO: Uvalde Families Plead for Congress to Strengthen Gun Laws: 'I Will Never Forget What I Saw That Day'

President Biden later explained on Jimmy Kimmel Live why he won't issue an executive order in response to the gun violence epidemic.

"I have issued executive orders within the power of the presidency to be able to deal with everything having to do with guns, gun ownership… all the things that are within my power. What I don't want to do – and I'm not being facetious – is emulate Trump's abuse of the constitution and constitutional authority.

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