Joe Biden fist punch
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The vast majority of Americans, gun owners included, support taking action to address gun violence, and similar to President Biden’s rescue plan—which also has high levels of bipartisan support—the Biden administration should not allow partisanship to stand in the way of addressing a pressing public health issue. The good news is they don’t have to. Evidence tells us that by scaling interventions that support social and mental well-being, we can reduce gun violence. The American Rescue Plan will provide states and cities the flexibility to do exactly that through the use of “state and local recovery funds.” President Biden should use his bully pulpit to push them to do it. …

When Congress passed the CARES Act in March, some cities used state and local COVID-19 relief funding to support gun violence intervention programs, including Grand Rapids, Mich., and Baton Rouge, La. The American Rescue Plan will provide flexibility for states and cities to do the same. President Biden should champion such efforts, helping to ensure programs are scaled throughout the country and sending a signal that stemming the spike in gun violence is a public safety priority, a racial justice priority and a public health priority.

To be sure, funding gun violence intervention programming is not a replacement for passing legislation to improve firearm safety, or for the array of powerful executive actions President Biden can take on his own. But as America begins to build back from one public health crisis, it’s a critical start to begin addressing another.

— Joseph V. Sakran, Chethan Sathya, and Corey Ciorciari in Biden: Push States and Cities to Use Stimulus Money for Gun Violence Prevention

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