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Biden to Clear Agency Grant Funding for Gun Violence Prevention

April 8, 2021, 12:08 AM

President Joe Biden is expected Thursday to announce a directive allowing 26 federal grant programs across five agencies to make funding available to community violence prevention efforts, as his administration waits for Congress to pass additional funds in his proposed infrastructure package.

The directive, one of six gun violence-related actions the president is expected to take, will significantly broaden the federal funding available to programs that gun violence advocates say can curb gun deaths.

Biden separately asked Congress for $5 billion to fund these initiatives as part of his $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal released last week. While the White House waits for Congress to move on his proposal, the administration will reshape the criteria of existing grant programs to make violence prevention programs eligible or prioritize them for funds, a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday night.

Under Biden’s directive expanding the agencies funding gun violence prevention, states will be reimbursed under Medicaid to pay for hospital-based violence intervention programs. School districts that incorporate violence prevention into federally funded tutoring programs will get support from the U.S. Department of Education.

The U.S. Department of Justice has historically been the federal government’s hub for crime-prevention grants, distributed through the Office of Justice Programs. Biden has yet to nominate someone to lead that office. Under Biden’s directive, the office will place “special emphasis” on community violence intervention in its signature $484 million criminal justice grant program, according to the White House.

States and cities have in the past spent portions of that program’s money, in addition to funding from other DOJ programs, on addressing gun violence, such as one in Virginia that identified gunshot victims who are at risk of repeat injury while they’re in the hospital. They’ve also spent money on law enforcement functions, such as when New Jersey used it on prosecutor training and task forces targeting gangs and narcotics.

Everytown for Gun Safety advocates for universal background checks and other gun control measures. Bloomberg Law is operated by entities controlled by Michael Bloomberg, who serves as a member of Everytown for Gun Safety’s advisory board.

To contact the reporter on this story: Courtney Rozen in Washington at crozen@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at bkohn@bloomberglaw.com; Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com; Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com

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