WASHINGTON – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements applauding the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s passage of the FY-2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) and Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bills and their accompanying Committee reports. The bills contain several historic investments that will help prevent gun violence, from investments in community violence interruption programs which have been proven to work to strengthening of our background check system.
“The Committee passage of these bills shows that the House is walking the walk and making crucial investments that will save lives in communities across the country,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The human and economic cost of gun violence continues to surge, and inaction is not an option.”
“Taking on gun violence demands action on every front, and today’s Committee passage of these critical funding bills brings us one step closer to having more tools to combat this crisis,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Our grassroots volunteers and gun violence survivors have been fighting on the front lines of this epidemic for years, and they’re grateful to have such strong leadership in Congress supporting their work.”
The legislation includes the following gun violence prevention priorities:
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) would see an over $70 million increase in its budget over FY2021 levels, to a total of $1.6 billion. This funding could support hiring of new special agents, investigators, and inspectors — and help ATF inspect a far higher number of licensed gun dealers each year.
- The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) would receive full funding, and there is a strong funding increase for grants to help states improve their submissions into the NICS system to ensure that firearms are kept out of the hands of people who aren’t legally allowed to have them. The bill directs the FBI to provide NICS with no less than $125 million and dedicates $100 million for record submission efforts.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health would each see an increase in funding of $12.5 million for research on firearm injury and mortality to better understand its causes and to inform prevention strategies, bringing the total research funding to $50 million. A fact sheet on why funding gun violence research matters is available here.
- Community violence intervention programs that provide life-saving, evidence-informed services to communities most impacted by daily gun violence, would see a historic investment. The appropriation bills fund the existing grant programs the Biden-Harris administration directed to support community violence intervention and make a life-saving additional investment of $229 million to support community-based violence intervention programs: $115 million at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and $114 million at the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) would receive $28 million for suicide prevention efforts and a clear direction to include a focus on suicide prevention policies and programs that limit access to firearms and other lethal means when an individual is in crisis as part of its comprehensive efforts. SAMHSA would also receive $113 million for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and is directed to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Lifeline on secure gun storage policies, out of home storage maps, and to encourage the use of tools like extreme risk protection orders.
- The Office on Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs would receive a massive increase of $240 million above FY2021, bringing total funding to over $753 million. This funding helps combat violent crimes against women, provide victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women, provide transitional housing, and more.
- Critical measures that were in the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would be funded, including investigations into the patterns and practices of unlawful policing, placing accountability conditions on existing grant programs, and supporting community-based organizations aimed at improving law enforcement.
Yesterday, Everytown for Gun Safety took part in a House Oversight Committee press conference announcing a new Government Accountability Office report showing that the immediate health care costs of gun violence exceed $1 billion per year. Everytown research has shown that the short and long-term economic costs of gun violence totals $280 billion per year.