Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on Senate leadership to include funding for gun violence prevention and support services in the next coronavirus relief package. Recent reports show that gun sales have increased and emergency health services have been strained since the coronavirus pandemic began. Stay-at-home orders have led to an increase in truancy among youth due to school closures, unemployment, and housing and food insecurity. These effects have exacerbated community gun violence and caused greater need for violence intervention programs to help decrease rates of firearm-related violence and homicides.
“During these challenging times, safety in our homes and communities is more important than ever,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The coronavirus outbreak has only amplified the gun violence epidemic in our country and it’s time we implement commonsense solutions to a problem that affects communities across the country. I will continue fighting to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence as we fight this pandemic.”
In a letter, Senator Gillibrand and her colleagues are pushing Congress to strengthen the country’s public health infrastructure to combat gun violence as communities respond to COVID-19. Specifically, they request:
- $100 million in emergency Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG) Funds to support community-based violence intervention programs in cities most impacted by gun-violence.
- $150 million for a Community-Based Violence Intervention Fund that helps local governments develop and replicate effective models for lifesaving violence intervention initiatives, such as hospital-based violence intervention, evidence-based street outreach and partnerships with health and education providers, law enforcement, local businesses and community leaders.
Full text of the letter can be found here and below.