The Justice Department announced today 49 awards to states, territories, and the District of Columbia as part of the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program.
This investment of over $231 million will fund state crisis intervention court proceedings, including but not limited to, extreme risk protection order (ERPO) programs that work to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others.
This investment in community safety is authorized by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, historic legislation to address and reduce gun violence.
As part of the grant awards, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office and the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council received $3,557,418. The funding could possibly be used for specialized court-based programs, such as drug, mental health, and veterans treatment courts, including those that specifically accept clients with firearms violations; behavioral health deflection for those at risk to themselves or others; funding for law enforcement agencies to safely secure, store, track and return relinquished guns; and more.
“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,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “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.”
“I am thankful for the more than $3.5 million dollar grant awarded to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. The Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program funding will support vital, evidence-based state and local programs that help save lives by reducing and preventing gun violence in communities across Oklahoma,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
These awards, administered by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), provide funding to states for the creation and implementation of extreme risk protection order programs, state crisis intervention court proceedings, and related gun violence reduction initiatives. Extreme risk protection order programs empower family members, health care providers, school officials and law enforcement officers to petition a court to temporarily prevent a person from accessing firearms if they are found to be a danger to themselves or others. Funds can also support interventions like drug, mental health and veterans’ treatment courts, gun violence recovery courts, behavior health deflection and outpatient treatment centers.
Signed into law by President Biden in June 2022, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is the most significant piece of federal gun safety legislation in almost three decades and comes as a response to recent mass shootings and to the far more common, but no less tragic, incidents of community gun violence. Including the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program, the law allocates a total of $1.4 billion to OJP over five years to develop, implement, and sustain meaningful investments in safer communities.
For a full list of awards, please visit: https://data.ojp.usdoj.gov/stories/s/O-BJA-2023-171458/b5xz-as5z/.
These awards are the latest effort from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs to implement this historic legislation.