Northam announces $27M for gun violence prevention in state budget
Gov. Ralph Northam announced today that his proposed two-year state budget will include $27.4 million to address gun violence in Virginia.
The funds will establish the Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention at the Department of Criminal Justice Services, building on his landmark gun violence prevention measures he has signed into law over the past four years.
“We lose a thousand Virginians to gun violence each year, and we must do everything we can to bring that number to zero,” Northam said. “The new research Center will collect important data that can lead to meaningful change. Gun violence is a public safety and a public health issue, and we have so much work to do to end this epidemic of violence. This data will save lives.”
The Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention will work across public safety and public health sectors to collect data and publish reports on violence caused by firearms. The information will be shared with state and local agencies, higher education institutions, research institutions, hospitals and other medical care facilities, and community-based organizations. These efforts will receive assistance and resources from the Center. Additionally, training standards and model policies for law-enforcement personnel will be established and updated periodically.
Virginia’s push for common-sense gun safety legislation started in 2019 after 12 people were killed in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach. The governor called a special session to address gun violence, but the session adjourned after just 90 minutes and no action was taken.
In 2020, Northam signed seven new laws to reduce gun violence—including background checks on all gun sales and mandated reporting of lost or stolen firearms. In 2021, Northam signed a law prohibiting a person convicted of assaulting a family member from purchasing, possessing or transporting a firearm.
“I am proud of the landmark gun violence prevention legislation that we, as an administration, have championed over the past four years,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention is the next step for the Commonwealth, and I’m confident it will help ensure Virginia remains a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.”
“The Department of Criminal Justice Services has knowledgeable and experienced staff and we are prepared to take on the responsibilities of the governor’s proposal,” said Department of Criminal Justice Services Director Shannon Dion. “We are committed to administering programs that help keep all Virginians safe.”