U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today issued the following statement regarding the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act:
“I have always been a strong supporter and defender of the Second Amendment, and I am committed to protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Hoosiers.
“As I reviewed this proposal, I consulted with law enforcement officials, gun owners, Second Amendment experts, educators, and mental health professionals. After careful consideration, I support this targeted legislation because it takes prudent steps to address our mental health crisis and combat violent crime without compromising the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Hoosiers.
“If you are a law-abiding citizen and have not been adjudicated as mentally ill, your Second Amendment rights will not be affected in any way. This bill contains no new restrictions, bans, required waiting periods, or mandates for law-abiding citizens of any age.
“To deal with the root causes of violent acts, I have long supported increased federal funding for better access to mental health services and efforts to recruit, develop, and retain more mental health providers, particularly in school settings. The centerpiece of this legislation is the most substantial investment in community-based mental health services in our nation’s history. Under this bill, Hoosiers who struggle with mental illness – including children and those in rural areas – will have significantly increased access to providers. It won’t be an overnight fix, but the investments made in mental health care by this bill will be transformational. The bill also will provide more resources for enhanced school safety and school hardening measures.
“This legislation does not create or mandate red flag laws at any level of government. Any state that chooses to use the Byrne-JAG Crisis Intervention grant program to develop or implement red flag laws, which Indiana already has, will need to meet stringent standards for due process to safeguard constitutional protections. In addition, states like Indiana could use this grant funding to train prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials to use these resources in a way that protects Second Amendment rights. These funds also can be used for other important crisis intervention efforts, including veterans’ courts, mental health courts, drug courts, and assisted outpatient treatment courts.
“We don’t have to choose between protecting Second Amendment rights and keeping guns away from those who might be a danger to themselves or others. We can and should do both. This legislation, supported by the Fraternal Order of Police and other law enforcement groups, will save lives without affecting the rights of law-abiding Americans.”
Text of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is available here.
The legislation is supported by the following organizations:
- National Sheriffs’ Association
- Fraternal Order of Police
- National Association of Police Organizations
- International Association of Chiefs of Police
- Major Cities Chiefs Association (Indianapolis is a member)
- Indianapolis Catholic Archbishop Charles C. Thompson
- Indiana Council of Mental Health Centers
- Mental Health America of Indiana
- Mental Health America of Knox County, Indiana
- AASA, The School Superintendents Association
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA)
- American College of Physicians
- American Psychiatric Association
- American Psychological Association
- Association of American Medical Colleges
- Association of Educational Service Agencies
- Children’s Hospital Association
- NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Association for Pupil Transportation
- National Council for Mental Wellbeing
- National District Attorneys Association
- National Education Association
- National Rural Education Association
- National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium
- The Jewish Federations of North America
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Senator Young supports additional legislation to address school safety, mental health, and gun violence including allowing COVID relief funds to be used to harden schools, increasing penalties for felons who illegally possess or use firearms, and increasing the number of mental health providers in schools.