By Karen Stokes
The Justice Department announced 49 awards to states including Wisconsin, territories, and the District of Columbia as part of the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program. This investment in community safety is authorized by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, historic legislation to address and reduce gun violence.
“Wisconsin is receiving more than $4 million for funding, the state hasn’t detailed yet how they are going to use the funding,” said Stef Feldman, Senior Advisor to the Director of Domestic Policy Council.
These awards, administered by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), provide funding to states for the creation and implementation of extreme risk protection order programs, state crisis intervention court proceedings, and related gun violence reduction initiatives. Extreme risk protection order programs empower family members, health care providers, school officials and law enforcement officers to petition a court to temporarily prevent a person from accessing firearms if they are found to be a danger to themselves or others.
Funds can also support interventions like drug, mental health and veterans’ treatment courts, gun violence recovery courts, behavior health deflection and outpatient treatment centers.
“Last summer President Biden signed into law the bipartisan Safer Communities Act which is the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in nearly 30 years” Feldman said.
Projects funded under this program will need to demonstrate that they have taken measures to safeguard the constitutional rights of an individual subject to a crisis intervention program or ERPO initiative.
“It is a big step to implement this law that President Biden passed. It’s just one of the ways the Biden Administration is working to reduce gun violence in Wisconsin, also the law requires enhanced background checks for people under 21 who are trying to buy a gun,” Feldman said. “The bipartisan Safer Communities Act is just one piece of the puzzle of the Biden Administrations violence reduction agenda; they’re also taking executive action on making it harder for people to buy ghost guns which are unserialized firearms. These are a few of the steps the Administration is taking across the country.”