The Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) sent 49 awards totaling $231 million to states, territories and the District of Columbia to assist with crisis intervention and “red flag” laws as part of the State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP).
The funds were approved under the 2022 Safer Communities Act, a bipartisan gun control law signed by President Joe Biden, and will assist extreme risk protection order programs, state crisis intervention courts and initiatives to reduce gun violence, according to a DOJ release. Biden, alongside 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, signed the Safer Communities Act into law in June, after mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
The Safer Communities Act allowed federal funding to be spent on “red flag” laws and mental health courts, while also addressing the “boyfriend loophole.” The loophole allowed for someone convicted of a domestic violence crime to own a gun if they didn’t live with their victim.
The act also expands background checks if an individual is between 18-21 years old, according to the legislation.
“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,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the release. “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.”
— U.S. Attorney EDMO (@USAO_EDMO) February 14, 2023
The funding will assist “extreme risk protection order programs” or “red flag” laws that allows “family members, health care providers, school officials and law enforcement officers” to request that a court take a way the Second Amendment rights of a person if it is deemed that they pose a threat, according to the release. Funding will also go to the courts and treatment centers to assist drug addicts, veterans and victims of gun violence.
“Protecting communities from gun crime is an urgent public safety challenge and a critical part of the Justice Department’s work to ensure that everyone in this country can live free from the fear of violence,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in the release. “The resources we are announcing today will give communities the tools they need to prevent firearm violence and deliver support to those who are at risk of committing or being victimized by gun crime.”
The Safer Communities Act allocated $1.4 billion to create “meaningful investments” in safer communities over a five year period, according to the release. The bill was pushed through both the Senate and the House with bipartisan support, and Biden called the act the “most significant law” on the topic “in the last 30 years.”
“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,” Bureau of Justice Assistance Director Karhlton F. Moore said in the release.
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