Cornyn’s Mental Health and School Safety Bill Signed Into Law
WASHINGTON – Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statements after President Biden signed hisBipartisan Safer Communities Act, targeted legislation that addresses the specific problems that have led to recent mass shootings and helps ensure schools are safe without placing new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, into law:
“So often around here, people do things and say things not with the intention of actually passing legislation, but with the intention of making a political statement or messaging. That’s not what we did here.”
“This bill includes important targeted reforms, complete with robust due process protections that I believe will keep our children and our communities safe while respecting Second Amendment rights.”
“Will it save lives? I believe the answer to that is yes, and that makes this worth doing.”
“Law-abiding gun owners are not the problem. Unless a person is adjudicated mentally ill or is a violent criminal, no one’s Second Amendment rights will be impacted by this legislation. Period.”
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is targeted legislation addressing the specific problems that have led to recent mass shootings and the need for additional mental health and school safety resources. It includes:
Support for State Crisis Intervention Orders
- Provides resources to states to implement crisis intervention court programs, which could include mental health courts, drug courts, Veterans’ Courts, and Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs.
- Every state would receive funding based on an existing formula and have the flexibility to choose whichever crisis intervention programs would work best for them. There are no mandates, incentives, penalties, or set-asides.
- If a state chooses to use any of this funding to implement an extreme risk protection order program, it would be required to meet strict and expansive due process, evidentiary, and standard of proof requirements.
Investments in Children and Family Mental Health Services
- Expands the community behavioral health center model nationwide and makes major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention.
Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
- Updates the definition of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to include those who have or have had a current or recent continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with their victim.
- Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence against a person with whom they have or have had a current or recent continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature would have their right to purchase and possess firearms automatically restored after five years elapsed from the end of their criminal sentence if they had committed no further crimes of violence.
Funding for School-Based Mental Health and Supportive Services
- Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention.
Funding for School Safety Resources
- Invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, supports school violence prevention efforts and provides training to school personnel and students.
Clarification of the Definition of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer
- Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.
- Invests in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
Under-21 Enhanced Review Process
- For buyers under 21 years of age whose background checks are flagged for cause, the bill allows up to seven additional days for the FBI to conduct an enhanced review into the possibly disqualifying juvenile and mental health adjudication records.
Penalties for Straw Purchasing
- Cracks down on criminals, cartel members, and terrorists who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.
The Senators’ Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is fully offset. Text of the Senators’ legislation is available here.
The legislation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Psychological Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Rural Health Association, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Electronic Security Association, and the Security Industry Association, along with other national and state domestic violence, mental health, and education organizations.