Sen. Chris Murphy Credits Bipartisan Safer Communities Act with 12% Reduction in Urban Homicides

Hartford, Connecticut – President Joe Biden’s age has been a subject of speculation regarding his ability to govern, but his allies are refuting claims that it hinders his effectiveness. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut highlighted the president’s involvement in passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which he asserts contributed to a 12% decrease in urban homicides in the United States. The legislation, signed by President Biden in June 2022, combined gun safety measures with mental health and school security resources, marking the first major gun control law in nearly 30 years.

Experts and criminologists have confirmed a 10% to 12% decline in U.S. homicides over the past year. However, it is important to note that this reduction is in response to a significant surge in violent crime during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several factors likely contributed to the decline, including the easing of pandemic-related social disruptions and the implementation of violence-reduction strategies by cities.

Though the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has likely played a role in decreasing urban homicides, experts emphasize that it should not be solely credited. They suggest that other factors, such as the fading tensions from high-profile incidents of police violence and the comprehensive response of cities to spikes in homicides, have also influenced the decline. It is challenging to pinpoint the precise impact of the legislation on 2023 urban homicides.

Murphy’s reference to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as a “gun” bill is fitting, as the majority of homicides in the United States involve firearms, accounting for about 81% of cases in 2021. The new law addressed various aspects, including the provision of funding for crisis intervention programs and the implementation of “red flag laws” to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose a threat. It also closed loopholes related to domestic violence, strengthened background checks, criminalized gun trafficking, and prohibited straw purchases.

One significant outcome of the legislation is the Justice Department’s prosecution of over 200 individuals on gun trafficking charges, as reported in The Washington Post. The law has facilitated the seizure of more than 1,300 guns from suspected traffickers between mid-July 2022 and late October 2023. In a press release, President Biden highlighted that enhanced background checks resulted in the prevention of over 500 illegal gun purchases by individuals under the age of 21.

While the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has contributed to the decline in urban homicides, it is crucial to recognize that the drop comes in response to a significant increase in violent crime during the pandemic. Furthermore, experts emphasize that multiple factors have influenced the decline, making it difficult to isolate the impact of the legislation. Although the law’s advocates argue that it supports local law enforcement efforts to combat violent crime, the decline in homicides remains uneven across the country. Cities such as Washington, Memphis, and Oakland have experienced substantial increases in homicide rates.

In conclusion, Senator Chris Murphy’s statement that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act led to a 12% reduction in urban homicides in 2023 is partly accurate but lacks important context. While the legislation has likely played a role in decreasing homicides, other factors such as the easing of pandemic-related disruptions and local violence-reduction strategies have also contributed. The decline should be viewed in the context of the rise in violent crime during the COVID-19 pandemic, and overall, the homicide rate remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Sources:, The New York Times,,, Jeff-alytics, Pew Research Center, Gun Violence Archive, Council on Criminal Justice, NPR, USA Today, PolitiFact, phone and email interviews with experts.