President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law the first major federal gun safety legislation passed in decades, marking a significant bipartisan breakthrough on one of the most contentious policy issues in Washington.  

"God willing, it's going to save a lot of lives," Biden said at the White House as he finished signing the bill. 

A bipartisan group of negotiators set to work in the Senate and unveiled legislative text on Tuesday. 

The bill -- titled the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act -- was released by Republican Sens. 

The House on Friday passed the bill by 234-193, including 14 Republicans voting with Democrats. The Senate passed the bill in a late-night vote Thursday. 

The package represents the most significant new federal legislation to  address gun violence since the expired 10-year assault weapons ban of  1994 

though it fails to ban any weapons and falls far short of what Biden and  his party had advocated for, and polls show most Americans want to see. 

"While this bill doesn't do everything I want, it does include actions  I've long called for that are going to save lives," Biden said.  

Biden added, "If we can reach compromise on guns, we ought to be able to  reach a compromise on other critical issues, from veterans' health care  to cutting edge American innovation and so much more.  

This bill closes a years-old loophole in domestic violence law -- the "boyfriend loophole" -- which barred individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence crimes against spouses 

partners with whom they shared children or partners with whom they cohabitated from having guns. 

Now the law will bar from having a gun anyone who is convicted of a  domestic violence crime against someone they have a "continuing serious  relationship of a romantic or intimate nature." 

The law isn't retroactive. It will, however, allow those convicted of  misdemeanor domestic violence crimes to restore their gun rights after  five years if they haven't committed other crimes. 

The bill encourages states to include juvenile records in the National  Instant Criminal Background Check System with grants as well as  implements a new protocol for checking those records.