The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced the agency is pushing $231 million to states that implement Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), otherwise known as Red Flag laws, in addition to other “gun violence prevention” measures.
“The Justice Department is working relentlessly to protect communities from violent crime and the gun violence that often drives it, and the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program is an important part of that effort,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “These awards will support the kinds of crisis intervention programs that we know save lives and help protect children, families, and communities across the country from senseless acts of gun violence.”
According to the Biden Administration, the funding will be used for Red Flag laws, in addition to drug invention programs, mental health and veterans’ treatment courts, outpatient treatment centers, and “gun recovery courts” (whatever that means).
The 10 states receiving the most amount of money include:
- California – $29,321,074
- Texas – $21,246,509
- New York – $13,313,053
- Illinois – $9,527,496
- Pennsylvania – $8,548,557
- Michigan – $7,945,884
- Ohio – $7,621,174
- North Carolina – $7,619,902
- Georgia – $7,488,436
- Tennessee – $6,722,537
Congress approved funding for this move in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law last June. Forty-nine of the grants were awarded through the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program.
According to the BSCIP website, states must apply for the federal funding and “designate a single State Administering Agency that has the authority to apply” on their state’s behalf.
Don’t Forget the Problem: Red Flag Laws
When the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed on a bipartisan basis in both chambers, we continually heard about how this bill would prevent prohibited possessors from obtaining firearms. We were told Americans would get help for mental health problems and drug addiction, which is desperately needed. But funding for these critical programs should NOT have been tied to Red Flag Laws.
We sounded the alarm on this issue, but now it’s a reality: law-abiding Americans can – and will – have their firearms taken away without due process.
Republicans promised to protect Americans’ right to due process, yet the bail failed to outline specifically what would be required to protect a person’s 5th and 14th Amendment rights.
Remember: the bill explicitly stated an American has a right to an attorney during the proceedings. The problem? You would have to pay for your own attorney and no public defender is available.
We were told ERPOs weren’t the focus, that mental health funding was. Guess what? The Biden Administration is now toating their funding for the very Red Flag Laws we sounded the alarm on.