In today's Legislation to Watch we're going to review Senate bill 3254 Gun Violence and Community Safety Act of 2020. This is the Senate's sister bill to House Resolution 5717 which we covered previously.
Senate Bill 3254 – Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020 was introduced on February 5, 2020. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is the bill's primary sponsor. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. As of this writing there are only three cosponsors; Senator Edward Markey also of Massachusetts, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.
The sponsors claim the purpose of the bill is to “end the epidemic of gun violence and build safer communities by strengthening Federal firearms laws and supporting gun violence research, intervention, and prevention initiatives.”. This assertion is identical the one given for HR5717.
What the Legislation Does
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress has not completed the official summary of S.3254 yet. Since the bill title and its expressed purpose are identical to HR5717, it is safe to assume that the desired outcomes are the same. When reading through the actual text of both bills, this author could not find any differences.
The Library of Congress summary for HR5717 is listed here for reference absent a summary for the Senate version:
- Requires individuals to obtain a license to purchase, acquire, or possess a firearm or ammunition
- Raises the minimum age to purchase any firearm or ammunition from 18 to 21
- Establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties
- Requires law enforcement agencies to be notified following a firearms-related background check that results in a denial
- Creates a process for a family or household member to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order to remove firearms from an individual who poses a risk of committing violence (Red Flag Law)
- Restricts the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices
- Restricts the manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, or receipt of ghost guns
- Requires federally licensed gun dealers to submit and annually certify compliance with a security plan to detect and deter firearm theft
- Removes limitations on the civil liability of gun manufacturers;
- Allows the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue safety standards for firearms and firearm components;
- Establishes a community violence intervention grant program;
- Promotes research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention.
Why You Should Care
Second Amendment and gun rights advocates can likely be less worried about the Senate passing this atrocious bill than the House. Sometimes the unfortunate political divide is beneficial. However, you still need to reach out to your Senators that serve on the finance committee or the sponsors if you are a constituent. Let them know you oppose s.3254. If you need some tips check out Second Amendment Advocacy - A How To Guide.
It isn't out of the realm of possibility that the Senate flips next term and this bill could be reintroduced. If that happens then this could be a more serious threat. These are also uncertain times so vigilance on anything meant to take away your rights is well advised.
You can get updates on this bill here: