The Oregon chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after the legislature passed legislation to allot nearly $40 million for violence intervention programs in the state. The bill now moves to Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s desk for her signature. Last night, the Oregon Senate also passed HB 4045, legislation to ensure Medicaid covers violence intervention services provided in hospitals after someone suffers a violent injury and continues to be at risk. The bill will also move to Governor Brown’s desk.
“This is an important first step for our state,” said Amie Wexler, a volunteer with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Community groups know what they need to prevent gun violence in their neighborhoods, but they need the funding to do their work. This funding will not only save lives, but will make sure these groups are able to do this work for years to come.”
“For too long, community groups have had to scrimp and scrape to fund their life-saving programs,” said Flynn Williams, a volunteer leader with Students Demand Action in Oregon and National Advisory Board member. “We’re grateful that our lawmakers are heeding the call to support these programs and look forward to continuing to support them in the field and for additional funding next year.”
More Details About the Budget Allocation for Violence Intervention Programs:
- $15 million for community-based violence prevention grants from the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund.
- $11.25 million for the federal Victims of Crime Act grant (VOCA) to support survivors of violent crimes – including gun violence.
- $10 million for state-funded grants to domestic and sexual violence service providers throughout the state, including federally recognized tribal governments.
- $2 million for the Crime Victims and Survivor Services Division, as a special payment for distribution to nonprofit entities to assist survivors of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking in maintaining or acquiring housing.
In 2021, Portland had a record year of gun violence with more than 90 homicides — making it the worst year of gun violence since 1987. These elevated numbers are not limited to Portland. Across the state, gun violence of all types has ravaged communities. In Oregon, 81% of gun deaths are suicides, and of the 11 congressional districts nationwide with more than 100 gun suicides a year, two of them are in Oregon.
According to the Oregonian, the number of shooting incidents during the first month of 2022 outpaced January 2021. This session, lawmakers are meeting the call and addressing the gun violence crisis in the state by making strategic investments in violence intervention programs. The funding would support community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in Oregon’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and communities.
More information on gun violence in Oregon is available here. To speak with a Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer about their advocacy this session, please don’t hesitate to reach out.