Center for Gun Violence Solutions Commends Virginia General Assembly for Allocating a Fund for Gun Violence Prevention
An amendment allocating funding is included in the final budget under consideration
Virginia is one step closer to passing a budget that includes a $13 million allocation over the next two years to support gun violence prevention to be administered by the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services. Virginia state lawmakers in Richmond passed a state budget on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, that included the funding and Governor Youngkin’s review of the budget, which just completed, left the funding intact. Now the General Assembly will consider the governor’s other budget amendments which do not affect the funding and send the budget back to the governor to sign.
If signed into law as expected, the new funding would seek to reduce gun violence in Virginia by awarding grants to local government agencies, community-based organizations, and hospitals that support implementation of evidence-based gun violence intervention and prevention programs.
Examples of prevention programs could include:
Community outreach, or programs that work with a range of community stakeholders to provide support for those at highest risk for hurting themselves or others
Hospital-based violence intervention programs, or programs that connect medical staff and health care providers with community-based partners to provide services and support to those impacted by gun violence
Group violence intervention programs, or programs that focus on groups at highest risk for committing or being a victim of violence address gun violence through credible messengers, nonviolent responses to conflicts, mediation, and other social support services.
Moreover, allocations could be made toward research, data collection, information sharing among state agencies and stakeholders, evaluations of current programs, transparent reports, training of public safety officials, and support of locality efforts.
The full budget now returns to the General Assembly to review Governor Glenn Youngkin’s amendments for final approval.
In response to the budget’s passage, Lori Haas, Advocacy Manager at the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said:
“Lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly took an important step to protect their constituents from the deadly gun violence epidemic that has plagued the Commonwealth for far too long. The new Virginia Firearm Violence Intervention & Prevention Fund will help create and expand effective gun violence prevention programs and services that support Black and brown communities disproportionately affected by gun violence, as well as allow for coordination among state agencies addressing firearm suicide. This budget allocation will provide an opportunity to implement comprehensive solutions grounded in research that address systemic issues in the community. It will ultimately save lives.
“The bipartisan legislators listened to their constituents and understood the necessity of establishing this new fund. It will bring us one step closer to creating safer, more secure communities. We hope Governor Youngkin can approve this budget swiftly—our children and our neighborhoods cannot afford to wait any longer.”