By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – Thirty-nine mass shootings in America this month have left more than 60 dead. Gun violence is evident and ongoing. To aid those affected by these tragedies in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Matthew J. Plankin granted $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to 11 hospital-based violence intervention plans (NJHVIP).
Months ago, Attorney General Plakin, who’s contributed to public safety in New Jersey through his initiatives before, (VIVA), teamed with the Murphy Administration to allocate ARP funds to bring the HVIP program into its fourth year. The funding intends to improve New Jersey’s infrastructure of community-based public safety and integrate victims of violence into services that focus on leading a healthy, healing, and safe life after chaos.
“These innovative violence intervention programs support survivors of gun violence from the very early stages of their healing journey to help disrupt the cycles of violence that have claimed the lives of too many New Jerseyans,” said Governor Murphy.
According to 2022 data from Rutgers: New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, 70.9 percent of residents do not live in homes with firearms, 19.9 percent do, 4.9 percent don’t know, and 4.3 percent refused to answer. Furthermore, The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence recorded in 2019 that 52 percent of gun violence deaths were homicides while 47 percent comprised suicide.
Through federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program funds, the NJHVIP launched, in 2020, with a focus on ending the cycle of violence in New Jersey. HVIP programs treat victims of violence in their most critical moments, providing hospital bedside for patients, support to provide healing and recovery, crisis intervention, conflict meditation, victim compensation, and mental health and substance use interventions (nj.gov).
The $10 million will be split among the 11 programs spread across ten counties including Atlantic, Camden, and Cumberland counties, all of which are the biggest contributors to gun violence in the state.
Last December, after the U.S. Supreme Court, N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen case, Governor Murphy increased restrictions for which residents are eligible for a public carry permit and, for those eligible, where those individuals can and can not bring them.
“While I strongly disagree with that decision, we must abide by it, and today’s law fully respects the Second Amendment while keeping guns out of the wrong hands and preventing them from proliferating in our communities,” Murphy stated. “I am proud to sign this commonsense legislation which prohibits carrying guns in sensitive places, including our daycares, hospitals, libraries, and stadiums.”
Despite New Jersey being one of the strongest states fighting for gun laws, the Murphy Administration, along with Attorney General Plakin, continues to work to reduce all gun violence in the state. To learn more about gun regulations and laws in New Jersey, click here.
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