Press Release

Giffords Applauds Introduction of the Break the Cycle of Violence Act

Bicameral legislation invests in evidence-based violence intervention programs in impacted communities

October 25, 2019 — Today Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, applauded the introduction of federal legislation to fund evidence-based programs designed to break cycles of violence. Introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV), the Break the Cycle of Violence Act will invest $90 million each year for 10 years in strategies like group violence intervention, street outreach, and hospital-based violence intervention programs.

“Solving our country’s gun violence epidemic cannot happen until we address the violence that rarely makes the headlines,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “It’s past time we gave leaders in the neighborhoods most impacted, who can help those most at-risk, the resources and support they need to stop violence in their communities. We know the programs funded in this bill are proven to work. Now Senator Booker and Representative Horsford are leading a charge to make sure we bring them to every city struggling with this problem. We’re grateful for their work to ensure we put federal dollars behind community-based efforts that are proven to reduce gun violence and save lives.”

“Gun violence in black and brown communities is a national problem that requires a national response,” said Pastor Michael McBride, National Director of LIVE FREE Project of Faith in Action. “We celebrate the introduction of this historic legislation. We believe this is a meaningful path toward a bipartisan solution that addresses gun related shootings and homicides without criminalizing more of our families.”

The Break the Cycle of Violence Act would provide federal grants to communities that experience 20 or more homicides per year and have a homicide rate at least twice the national average, or communities that demonstrate a unique and compelling need for additional resources to address gun and group-related violence. Hospitals treating at least 250 shooting or stabbing patients each year would also qualify. Each grant awarded would be renewable over five years and funds will be commensurate with the scope of the proposal and the demonstrated need.

Earlier this year, Giffords Law Center unveiled a report, A Case Study in Hope: Lessons From Oakland’s Remarkable Reduction in Gun Violence, exploring the city’s successful citywide gun violence reduction strategy. Since 2012, Oakland has cut its annual shootings and homicides nearly in half. By 2018, Oakland recorded its lowest number of homicides in almost two decades. This stands in direct contrast to many other major American cities that saw an increase in gun violence after 2012.

The Oakland report was the third in a series of studies coordinated by Giffords Law Center and community partners. In 2017, Investing in Intervention: The Critical Role of State-Level Support in Breaking the Cycle of Urban Gun Violence examined the concrete ways state leaders can support and scale up community-driven solutions that have a real and lasting impact on gun violence in urban neighborhoods. The first report in the series, Healing Communities in Crisis: Lifesaving Solutions to the Urban Gun Violence Epidemic, was published in 2016 and identified the most effective evidence-based violence prevention and intervention strategies.

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