General Assembly approves funding for gun violence prevention
The Virginia General Assembly has approved funding to allow the Office of Attorney General to implement community-based gun violence prevention programs across the Commonwealth in communities that have been most impacted by gun violence.
Ahead of the special legislative session, Attorney General Mark Herring had proposed that $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan go towards community-based gun violence prevention programs in localities across the Commonwealth.
Herring and his team will work with local community violence prevention advocates, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to implement these programs that will emphasize outreach, prevention, and intervention, while also promoting evidence-based practices.
Additionally, Herring is planning to host roundtables across the Commonwealth to hear from law enforcement, advocates, and community leaders about what their communities need to combat gun violence and violent crime.
“We have had a gun violence problem in Virginia for too long. Gun violence is not limited to mass shootings, it is also the solitary shootings that can have a devastating ripple effect throughout a community,” Herring said. “These community-based intervention and prevention programs have proven to be effective in reducing gun violence and other violent crimes, and I’m looking forward to working with localities and local stakeholders to invest in and implement the best programs for each community. I want to thank our partners in both the House and the Senate as well as our law enforcement and advocate partners in helping to get this critical funding into the budget.”
Through these community-based programs, Herring and his team will work with local law enforcement, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and gun violence prevention advocates to reduce gun violence and other violent crime through a combination of outreach, prevention, intervention, and evidence-based practices.
Program implementation will have a regional approach that will be supported by existing OAG violence reduction staff that are already placed throughout Virginia in these communities in addition to hiring additional violence reduction specialists to support these efforts.
Violence reduction specialists will promote prevention and awareness programming that includes:
- Youth engagement
- Conflict resolution and mediation
- Partnership with neighborhood watches and other crime prevention organizations
- Collaboration with houses of worship and other stakeholder organizations