The New Normal: Are the new federal gun control laws enough to combat gun violence?
News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined this morning by Dr. Chethan Sathya, of the Northwell Health Center on Gun Violence Prevention, to discuss how new federal gun laws will impact our country in the wake of a number of mass shootings.
President Joe Biden held a formal bill signing ceremony Monday for the bipartisan gun control bill, which was passed in the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Biden emphasized that while the bill is an important step, there's still more work to be done. The new law expands background checks, funds programs to seize guns from troubled individuals and bolsters mental health services. It's designed to prevent dangerous people from accessing weapons and to invest $15 billion in the mental health system and school security. The measure also takes steps to close the so-called boyfriend loophole, by including serious dating partners in a federal law that bars domestic abusers from purchasing guns.
New video from inside the elementary school in Uvalde sparked outrage. Sathya met some of the families at the White House and says it's absolutely horrific what happened to them. He says they are getting help from their local government officials. Sathya says the new federal gun control laws are a step in the right direction, especially by expanding background checks. He says focusing on mental health is key.
As a trauma surgeon, Sathya says he's seen too many kids with bullet wounds. He says mental health and talking about suicide is important. A new suicide prevention three-digit number (988) is set to go live this weekend -- an important factor because statistics show that many people hang up before their call is answered.
There's also been a surge in gun purchases across the U.S. The number of guns sold has reached record levels with more than 43 million guns purchased in 2020 and 2021. Sathya says there was definitely an increase during the pandemic.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy just signed a new measure into law that bans .50-caliber weapons and puts restrictions on ghost guns. Sathya says there's also restrictions on certain ammunition. He says handmade guns like the one used in the assassination of the former prime minister of Japan is a big problem and will be a worldwide issue.
Some say that laws need to be stricter for keeping criminals in jail. Sathya says most of the mass shootings that have happened were by someone who legally owned a weapon.