President Biden has announced that the Department of Justice will provide more than $231 million to states for crisis intervention projects such as red-flag initiatives in an effort to curb gun violence.
The White House announced the program on Feb. 14, which was the fifth anniversary of the Parkland tragedy in 2018, in which a shooter killed 17 people at a Florida high school.
Biden said in the program’s announcement that extreme risk protection orders, often known as “red-flag” regulations, “could potentially have stopped shooters in Parkland and other tragedies.”
The $231 million will be distributed to 49 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. This funding is slated to assist the jurisdictions in developing and implementing programs, including those addressing drug and mental health issues.
The funding comes from a bipartisan gun safety bill signed into law by Biden in June. The plan contains financing for mental health therapy and $750 million to assist states in administering red-flag laws and other intervention initiatives.
The red flag laws, or extreme risk protection order programs, allow family members, health care providers, school authorities, and law enforcement officers to petition a court to bar a person from having access to weapons if they are considered a danger to themselves or others.
“Protecting communities from gun crime is an urgent public safety challenge and a critical part of the Justice Department’s work to ensure that everyone in this country can live free from the fear of violence,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said, according to the Department of Justice.
“The resources we are announcing today will give communities the tools they need to prevent firearm violence and deliver support to those who are at risk of committing or being victimized by gun crime.”
Biden said that while he trusts the funding will make communities safer, he believes more should be done in the area of gun control.
“I once again call on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” the president said.
“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to continue to act.”