The Biden administration plans to invest $ 5 billion for the prevention of gun violence in the worst affected areas of the country as part of a key infrastructure package announced this week.
This investment marks an important step in recognizing the disparate impact of gun violence and is the first time the government has set aside so much money at once to address community violence comprehensively. over a period of several years.
“Historically, the focus of the federal government, particularly when faced with a sudden spike in gun homicides, is to fund strategies that are overly vigilant,” said Paul Carillo, director of the Giffords Law Center’s Community Violence Initiative to Prevent Gun Violence, in a statement. “The Biden administration demonstrated its commitment to addressing root causes.”
The proposal comes as the United States has witnessed a significant increase in gun violence during the pandemic. Los Angeles has had an 11-year high in homicides. Philadelphia is experiencing one of the highest annual rates of gun violence in half a century.
Joe Biden has long been a strong advocate for gun control and has called for a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks. Has reiterated its sort out after the first high-profile mass shootings of his White House tenure.
But advocates have long called on the administration to address the less-recognized, but more frequent, incidents of gun violence that plague city streets and are concentrated among Black and Latino communities.
Biden’s $ 5 billion proposal would work to create and expand community-based violence prevention strategies. The money would be allocated over eight years and used to hire community street workers, make violence prevention work sustainable, and provide organizations with a steady stream of funds so they can lessen their dependence on grants. competitive only.
Funds earmarked for locations where shootings are on the rise are intended to help underserved communities recover from losses related to the pandemic and rebound from the sustained increase in homicides. The money would also contribute to programs such as summer jobs and training opportunities for those most at risk of being affected by gun violence as victims or potential shooters, a White House administrator said.
“It’s been a long time and we think this plan is a great sign that this work is finally being taken seriously,” said Dr. Antonio Cediel, campaign manager for LIVE FREE, a national violence prevention organization.
“This creates a new set of opportunities. We have to address gun violence where it is most concentrated, ”added Cediel. “These strategies have a history and we know they work. It’s just a matter of expanding them. “
Cediel was one of the 10 defenders of the prevention of armed violence that met with Susan Rice, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, to ask the administration to take dramatic action and focus on black and brown communities facing the highest levels of gun violence.
Other advocacy groups, including the March for our Lives and Amnesty International, have welcomed the announcement. A statement by Amnesty International USA said: “After years of inaction by the federal government on gun violence, President Biden’s plan to invest in our communities demonstrates the hope that those most affected by this violence will receive help”. Everytown for Gun Safety applauded the plan, “This funding will save lives.”
Biden on Wednesday described his infrastructure plan as “a once-in-a-generation investment in America.” Other proposals include expansive upgrades to the nation’s highways, water systems and electrical grids and, if approved, could create about 100,000 jobs, Biden said during the presentation of the plan.
“Our infrastructure is crumbling. These are among the highest value investments we can make. We can afford to do them. We can’t afford not to. ”Biden said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism