Biden administration announces $231M to fund red-flag laws, other gun violence prevention
President Biden announced on Tuesday that the Department of Justice will give more than $231 million to states for crisis intervention projects, such as red-flag programs, in an effort to reduce gun violence.
The president marked the five-year anniversary of the 2018 Parkland shooting, in which a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school, with the new funding announcement. Biden said in a statement that extreme risk protection orders, or so-called red-flag laws, “could potentially have stopped shooters in Parkland and other tragedies.”
Biden has long championed red-flag laws, which allow a judge to take away a firearm from someone based on the suspicion that the owner could use it to harm themselves or others.
Family members, police or doctors, have to petition the court to take away the firearm, an action that can result in police removing it for up to a year. The 19-year-old Parkland shooter was known to have red flags against him, including having been tipped off to the FBI and having been the subject of multiple 911 calls.
The $231 million will go to 49 states, territories and Washington, D.C., to help them create and implement such programs as well as mental health and substance use treatment courts and veterans’ treatment courts.
The funding comes by way of the bipartisan gun safety bill, which Biden signed into law in June. The bill allocated $750 million to help states administer red-flag laws and other intervention programs, and it includes funding for mental health treatment.
The laws “allow family members, health care providers, school officials, and law enforcement officers to seek a court determination that a person is a danger to themselves or others, and then temporarily prevent that person from accessing a firearm,” Biden said on Tuesday.
“Red flag laws, however, only save lives if community members effectively use this tool. Today’s announcement gives states funding to educate the public about extreme risk protection orders and train law enforcement and other officials regarding this intervention,” he added.
Biden also renewed his calls for Congress to pass legislation that would ban assault weapons, require background checks on all gun sales, and eliminate “immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to continue to act,” Biden said.
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