Washington, D.C., May 7, 2020 - Today, Brady condemns Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s decision to veto SB 708, which would have appropriated $3.6 million in the annual State budget to be used solely to provide grants to Maryland violence intervention programs at the community and hospital level.
Brady Vice President of Policy Christian Heyne shared:
“We are amazed that Gov. Hogan would veto common-sense gun violence prevention bills, such as SB 708, passed by the Maryland legislature simply because the legislature did not also pass other bills he favored. In vetoing these bills, Gov. Hogan cited his State of the State address. He was right to do so, as he was right to note at the time that gun violence 'is an urgent crisis, and we have an obligation to do something about it right now. There can be no more excuses and no more delays.'
Today, Gov. Hogan gave the people of Maryland excuses. He was the delay.
SB 708 would have ensured critical funding for violence intervention programs already at work and succeeding in high-risk neighborhoods, including in Baltimore, which Gov. Hogan was correct in saying faces persistent and deep-rooted gun violence. This bill would have funded community & hospital-based intervention programs that address root causes of gun violence, strengthening communities through investment and meaningful intervention.
Gun violence is a complex epidemic and requires comprehensive solutions that address its effects and root causes. In one year alone, local violence intervention programs mediate thousands of conflicts in high-risk communities, many of which would have inevitably ended in tragic loss of life. It is part of why when funding VIPP in 2018 Governor Hogan stated that it 'is one of a number of outcome-based initiatives aimed at preventing crime with the ultimate goal of reducing violence in our state.' That goal and those facts have not changed in the last 18 months.
Gov. Hogan concluded his State of the State Address with a call, 'Let us keep putting the people’s priorities ahead of partisan interests.'
Preventing gun violence is such a priority. It is one of the Governor’s priorities. While he cannot undo his veto, Brady urges Governor Hogan to rethink his puerile action and recommit to this important cause, including supporting SB 708 in the future. We are ready to work with him to do so. If not, the Legislature will continue to pursue the people’s priorities to help keep Maryland communities safe, and overturning the Governor’s veto will be among them.”
Gov. Hogan signed the Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (VIPP) into law in 2018. The fund is jointly administered by the Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Advisory Council and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. The fund supports violence reduction programs through evidence-based initiatives. These initiatives and programs approach violence reduction from a public health perspective, working to reduce violence, specifically gun violence, through measurable tactics. Many communities at highest risk of gun violence are also at a high risk for COVID-19. Violence intervention programs seek to address the same structural inequities that leave these communities vulnerable to, and increase the risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality.
About SB 708:
SB 708 would require the Governor to include $3.6 million in the annual State budget to be used solely to provide grants to Maryland violence intervention programs at the community and hospital level. These funds directly support evidence-based programs and initiatives that break the cycle of violence in our communities.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.