TOPEKA (KSNT) – This weekend, President Biden is set to sign into law the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades.
Local gun reform advocates are thankful change is finally coming. The bipartisan “Safer Communities Act” will soon provide millions of dollars for mental health, school safety and crisis intervention programs. The money can be used to implement and manage so called “Red Flag” programs, which through court orders, allows for the temporary confiscation of firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or society.
While the Kansas legislature has debated Red Flag laws for years, it doesn’t currently have a Red Flag program. The state can prohibit firearm purchases from anyone committed for treatment for mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse. Those who have been affected by gun violence feel this is a step in the right direction.
“I’ve lived in Kansas for 30 years, and I’ve seen it get worse every year as I’ve lived here,” said LaTonya Boyd, Senior Leader with Moms Demand Action. “I go to the cemeteries, a lot of them and visit young people who should be enjoying their life.”
Others feel this gun legislation is stripping them of their rights.
“Gun control laws do not stop criminals from being criminals,” said Quentin Martin of Integrity Gun and Pawn. “They’re the ones that don’t follow the law. It only impedes the law-abiding citizens.”
The bill will also set aside millions of dollars to increase the number of mental health professionals in schools. The signing of the safer communities act is the first change to gun control legislation in nearly 30 years.