Pennsylvania to receive $8.5 million from the DOJ’s $231 million grant for gun violence prevention programs
State Senator Bob Casey announced the funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency.
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U.S. Senator Bob Casey announced earlier on Wednesday morning, Feb. 15, that the state would be receiving $8,548,557 in federal funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency to combat rising crime and gun violence.
“When we passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, we fought to include community violence prevention initiatives to stop the scourge of gun violence plaguing communities across Pennsylvania,” said Casey.
This follows the Department of Justice announcing on Tuesday, Feb. 14, that it would be awarding more than $200 million to aid states and D.C. implement “red-flag laws” — known as extreme risk protection orders — and other crisis-intervention programs as part of the bipartisan gun legislation passed by Congress over the Summer. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 was historic legislation at the time to address and prevent gun violence.
The funding was also announced on the fifth anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The funding is part of the $1.4 billion from the legislation given to the DOJ over five years for gun violence prevention efforts.
Passed in June, it was the largest gun violence bill in several decades. It bolstered the requirements for young people to purchase guns, denied firearms for more domestic abusers, and increased funding for mental health programs and schools.
“These awards will help meet two monumental public safety challenges — the alarming proliferation of gun violence in our country and the clear need for front-end interventions to slow the cycle of violence and victimization in our most underserved communities,” said BJA Director Karhlton F. Moore.
The DOJ spread love on Valentine’s Day by announcing that the over $200 million would be awarded to 49 states, territories, and D.C. as part of the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program. The investment will fund state crisis intervention programs, and red flag laws that keep guns out of dangerous hands.
The Byrne SCIP provides formula funds to apply state crisis intervention court proceedings and related programs.
“This funding will help the Commonwealth implement programs to more effectively respond to this crisis,” Casey added. “It’s a strong step in our ever-urgent fight to end gun violence.”
Casey has worked over the course of his long career to improve the programs that address behavioral health and crisis intervention.
His LEAD Initiative — the Law Enforcement Education and Accountability for People with Disabilities — would bring people and police together with the resources needed, find more effective ways to address crisis situations, and better train law enforcement on how to respond.
LEAD is made up of two bills: the Human-services Emergency Logistics Program (HELP) Act and the Safe Interactions Act.
“The Justice Department is working relentlessly to protect communities from violent crime and the gun violence that often drives it, and the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program is an important part of that effort,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“These awards will support the kinds of crisis intervention programs that we know save lives and help protect children, families, and communities across the country from senseless acts of gun violence,” he added.
Other states to be awarded include Arizona, Nevada, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, with Sacramento, California taking the largest sum with over $29 million and Austin, Texas with more than $21 million.
“The Department of Justice’s strategy to reduce violent crime and gun violence includes prioritizing support for successful, evidence-based programs,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The grants announced today invest in and highlight proven state and local violence prevention and intervention programs that will make our communities safer.”
“This funding will reduce gun violence and save lives,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.