Giffords Applauds Senate Appropriations Committee Prioritizing Gun Violence Prevention
Washington DC — Today, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords applauded the Senate Appropriations Committee for including strong investments to address gun violence in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Fiscal Year 2023 funding bills.
Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director, Giffords:
“Gun violence is spiking across the nation, with recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that nearly 49,000 people died from gunfire in 2021, marking a grim new record for gun deaths. The Senate’s Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bills prioritizes crucial investments to address the violent epidemic gutting communities across the nation. We thank Chairs Leahy, Murray, and Shaheen for their leadership and efforts to strengthen public health and safety and protect communities from gun violence.”
The Senate FY23 CJS bill provides critical funding for the FBI, ATF, the Office of Justice Programs, and the Office of Violence Against Women for key programs that help address gun violence. The legislation again provides $50 million in dedicated funding for the Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative, which assists local communities in developing comprehensive, evidence-based violence prevention and reduction programs. This funding would complement the $50 million for community violence intervention and prevention programs appropriated by the recently enacted Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
The Senate FY23 LHHS bill increases the investment in gun violence research within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and includes an increase of nearly $85 million to provide funding for community violence prevention programs within the CDC. Federal funding for evidence-informed and community-based strategies, including hospital-based interventions, will allow more communities to address gun violence through public health approaches. The bill also includes increased funding for suicide prevention programs.
Funding levels in the FY23 CJS bill for initiatives and programs to improve gun safety include:
- $50 million for the Community Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiative within the Department of Justice, which supplements the $50 million for community violence intervention and prevention funding made available for FY23 in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
- $125 million for grants to states to upgrade criminal and mental health records for the NICS background check system, including $25 million for the NICS Act Record Improvement Program (NARIP).
- Increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF), which would enable ATF to enforce the nation’s gun laws, including expanding the implementation of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. The funding will also aid in ATF’s trafficking and violent gun crime reduction efforts.
- $65.5 million for the Office of Violence Against Women’s grant program that aids in the investigation of domestic violence and enforcement of protective orders, of which $4 million is for a homicide reduction initiative and up to $4 million of which is for the domestic violence firearms lethality reduction initiative.
Funding levels in the FY23 LHHS bill for initiatives and programs to address the public health crisis of gun violence include:
- $60 million for firearm injury and mortality prevention research, with $35 million for the CDC program and $25 million for the NIH program, more than doubling the investment from FY22.
- $100 million for the CDC’s Community and Youth Violence Prevention program to support community-based violence interventions, including providing trauma-informed services to communities with the highest rates of violence and associated risk factors that are seeking to address relevant impacts and root causes of community violence and collective trauma.
- $34.5 million for the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). NVDRS is the most comprehensive database for violent death-related data within the U.S., which helps inform our approaches to violence prevention.
- Increased funding for Suicide Prevention Programs, including the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and the Zero Suicide program, which will help address the issue of firearm suicides. People are at least 40 times more likely to die by gun suicide than any other common method to end one’s life.
- Increased funding for Project AWARE grants, including providing more than $18 million specifically for grants supporting efforts in high-crime, high-poverty areas and in communities seeking to address the impacts and root causes of community violence and collective trauma. Project AWARE grants seek to support youth mental health, with the goal of promoting the healthy development of school-aged youth and preventing youth violence.
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