WASHINGTON – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements applauding this week’s release of nine Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills by Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. The bills contain several historic investments that will help prevent gun violence, from investments in community violence interruption programs to strengthening our background check system.
“Once again, the Senate majority is walking the walk on gun safety, and taking action to address America’s gun violence crisis,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re grateful to Senators Leahy and Shaheen for realizing that thoughts and prayers alone are not enough — in order to save lives, we need to invest in evidence-based solutions.”
“Taking on gun violence demands action on every front, and the funding proposals by Senators Leahy and Shaheen bring 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 $1.55 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 allocates $125 million to improve the submission of criminal and mental health records to NICS..
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health would each see funding for gun violence research doubled, 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 $215 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 $100 million at the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.
- The Office on Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs would receive a massive increase of $247 million above FY2021, bringing total funding to over $760 million. This funding helps combat violent crimes against women, provide victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women, provide transitional housing, and more.
The inclusion of this crucial funding to prevent gun violence in the Senate bill follows House Appropriations Committee passage earlier this year of FY-2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) and Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bills with historic investments in gun violence prevention programs. The Biden-Harris administration’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2022 also included $200 million to a new community violence intervention program as a part of historic investments in gun safety. Everytown research has shown that the short and long-term economic costs of gun violence totals $280 billion per year — highlighting the urgency of action.