Gun Sense Champions Representative José Serrano (D-NY) and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) Were Instrumental in Writing the Legislation and Leading it to Successful Passage
NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 3055, a spending package that includes the FY2020 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill and its accompanying Committee report. Representatives José Serrano (D-NY) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) were instrumental in writing this legislation and leading the effort to pass it through the full U.S. House.
“With this bill, the House is walking the walk on gun safety and making crucial investments that will save lives in communities across the country,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This legislation is further proof that elections matter, and that the new gun sense majority in the House is determined to break the pattern of Congressional inaction on gun violence.”
The legislation includes the following gun violence prevention priorities:
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would see a nearly 10 percent increase in its budget over FY2019 levels, to a total of $1.439 billion. This funding could support hiring of new special agents, investigators, and inspectors—and help the Bureau inspect a far higher number of licensed gun dealers each year.
- Federal funding for state record submission into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System would increase by $5 million, to a total of $80 million—helping to ensure the background check system has the records it needs to deny illegal gun sales.
- The Office on Violence Against Women would see a 17 percent increase over FY2019 levels, to a total $582.5 million. OVW’s Prevention and Prosecution Programs are essential to provide a variety of direct services to victims and survivors of abuse, including crisis intervention, legal assistance, and housing—and programs like STOP and Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies help ensure domestic abusers don’t have access to illegal guns.
- The budget invests $125M in the STOP School Violence Act, appropriating funds for evidence-based programs, like school threat assessment programs, to keep our schools safe.
- The Office on Community Oriented Policing Services would be funded at $323M, an increase of nearly $20 million. The COPS Office is tasked with fostering community policing by state and local law enforcement and has primary responsibility for implementing the recommendations of the groundbreaking 21st Century Policing Task Force.
- The bill maintains funding for the Office of Justice Programs, which is the hub for developing, implementing, and evaluating the best and most innovative practices in justice administration. It also leaves funding in place for the Community Relations Service and for the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division, critical offices that safeguard the civil rights of all US citizens. The Trump Administration has proposed eliminating or rolling back funding for these programs.
- The bill sets aside $8 million for community-based violence intervention programs. Many models for community-based violence prevention are highly effective at reducing gun violence. The bill also increases funding for Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grants by 18 percent. Innovation grants that support data-informed innovative violence prevention programs.
In addition, the Committee report advanced today by the full House contains important new gun safety provisions, including:
- The report directs The Department of Justice to notify state law enforcement of all gun background check denials. These are cases where law enforcement intervention can be critical before prohibited individuals get armed—especially given three in 10 people who “lie and try” to buy guns after a criminal conviction or indictment are rearrested within 5 years.
- The report directs ATF to release a new report in the vein of the 2000 Following the Gun Report, offering aggregate statistical data on gun trafficking—data that have been hidden from public view for decades. The report also urges ATF to increase crime gun trace submission from law enforcement agencies.
- The report directs DOJ to address mass shootings by studying how to use domestic violence history as an indicator, and more broadly to look at existing efforts to analyze gun violence and understand mass shootings.
- The report directs the Office for Victims of Crime to provide the committee with an updated report on the steps in place to ensure the communities most affected by violence are able to access services and resources provided by the Crime Victims’ Fund.