The omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress will increase funding for research into gun violence prevention as well as strengthen the Brady Background Check system and more.
Washington, D.C., December 22, 2020 - Brady applauds the inclusions of numerous spending increases and funding allocations for research into gun violence prevention, strengthening the Brady Background Check system, and our nation’s gun safety laws in the omnibus appropriations bill passed by the U.S. Congress today.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“Under the leadership of Chairwoman Lowy and Reps. DeLauro and Serrano and their Senate counterparts, the U.S. Congress has passed an appropriations bill that includes and in many forms increases funding for research into gun violence and its drivers, as well as strengthens many of the regulatory mechanisms that support our nation’s gun safety laws. These are welcome and needed appropriations. This bill maintains the historic funding for gun violence research for the CDC and NIH passed in last year’s appropriations bill, while also increasing funds for mental health services, research for preventing suicide, and support for programs to build on the existing private research that has helped to shine a light on this public health crisis, while funding programs to support survivors and communities.
We have seen record gun violence this year, with some estimates showing that more people have died from gun violence in 2020 than have for nearly a decade, while we have seen more mass shootings this year than ever before. In a year where we have all grown tired of the word ‘unprecedented,’ these are horrific precedents to set and we cannot allow them to become the norm. This appropriations bill is a needed and welcome start and we look forward to the 117th Congress addressing our nation’s gun violence epidemic swiftly and decisively come January.”
Among the most notable inclusions in the bill is $25 million for federal research into our nation’s gun violence epidemic appropriated to be split evenly between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). This appropriation matches and continues the historic funding appropriated in last year’s spending bill, the first such funds appropriated to research gun violence since 1996.
Meaningfully, Congress has likewise appropriated an additional $12 million, an increase of $2 million, for suicide prevention at the CDC. While often overlooked and under-discussed, firearm suicides account for more than half of all suicide deaths in the United States and 60 percent of all gun deaths. We cannot address gun violence in the United States without acknowledging and addressing the ongoing epidemic of gun suicide in the United States.
Additional Appropriations in the Bill Include:
- Increased funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to $6 billion, $133 million above the 2020 enacted level
- This increase includes a new $35 million crisis care initiative within the Mental Health Block Grant; and expanded services and support for mental for children and youth including $107 million for Project AWARE, an increase of $5 million; and $72 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, an increase of $3 million.
- Suicide prevention including $21 million for the Zero Suicide program, an increase of $5 million; and $24 million for the Suicide Lifeline, an increase of $5 million.
- Grants to State and Local Law Enforcement for the U.S. Department of Justice. These grants include $132 million for the STOP School Violence Act; and $513.5 million for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs;
- $85 million, a nearly 9% increase over 2020 levels, for grants to improve the NICS firearms background check system, which was established by the 1993 Brady Bill;
- An additional $83.9 million in ATF funding, a 6% increase over 2020 enacted levels.
The Enjoined COVID Relief Bill Includes:
- $4.25 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide increased mental health and substance abuse services and support, including:
- $1.65 billion for the Mental Health Services Block Grant;
- $50 million for suicide prevention programs.
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.