The Massachusetts chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate for passing H4269, a bill that would utilize $65 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to fund gun violence prevention programs and initiatives across the state.
“The devastating gun violence we’ve seen in communities across Massachusetts is preventable, which is why we must make proactive investment in life-saving violence intervention and prevention strategies,” said Rina Schneur, a volunteer with the Massachusetts chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are very grateful to House and Senate Ways and Means Chairs Rep. Michlewitz, Sen. Rodrigues, Speaker Mariano, Senate President Spilka and the rest of the Legislature for working together to pass this important funding bill, and we urge Governor Baker to sign it into law and reaffirm our state’s status as a leader in the fight against gun violence.”
$50 million of funding will go towards a variety of services including community-based violence intervention and prevention programs, the expansion of reentry programs, and youth employment programs. The bill also includes $15 million for municipal grants to create and expand pre-arrest co-response programs focused on strengthening mental health responses for people in crisis. Having passed through the Legislature, the bill will be sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature.
To assist states and local communities across the country, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law in March of 2021, authorizing $130 billion in funding for local governments to counter the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local governments can now utilize ARPA funds to address gun violence in cities as increased gun violence can be traced to the impact of the pandemic, and violence intervention professionals are performing essential frontline work to protect the public and interrupt gun violence.