Gun Safety - Meet the Freshmen

Gun Safety

With gun violence on the rise throughout the country, the Democratic-controlled 117th Congress passed the first meaningful legislation to curtail access to firearms in decades. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provided enhanced background checks for minors, as well as increased mental health and school safety measures.[1]

Less than a month after President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-01) introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, which quickly passed the House, but has been stalled in the Senate.[2] Additionally, President Biden – who as a Senator championed and helped pass the original assault weapons ban in 1994 – issued a number of executive orders aimed at further preventing gun violence. Perhaps the most consequential of these is the crackdown on “ghost guns,” which classifies (and regulates ownership of) do-it-yourself guns the same as other firearms.[3]

While new gun regulations were moving forward, gun rights advocates were making progress at the state and judicial level. The same week the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act became law, the US Supreme Court struck down a New York law limiting the carrying of firearms. Additionally, Republican-controlled states like Texas and Georgia moved forward with “open carry” and “permit-less carry” laws.

[1] Stephanie Lai & Emily Cochrane, “Here’s what is in the Senate’s gun bill ––and what was left out,” the New York Times, June 23, 2022, available at

[2] HR 1808 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, July 29, 2022, available at

[3] Stefan Sykes, “Federal ‘ghost gun’ regulations go into effect after judges reject challenges,” CNBC, August 24, 2022, available at

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