The Michigan State Police announced on Jan. 8 that it had begun accepting applications from community-based organizations for grants that will be used to fund efforts to prevent and reduce crime, with a focus on gun violence.
“In partnership with the MSP, we are excited to announce that we are accepting applications for the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program, which helps prevent and reduce gun violence,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.
The Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program was created by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed by President Joe Biden in June 2022. The program allocates federal funds to states for crime prevention, particularly prevention related to extreme risk protection order programs, more commonly known as red flag laws. Those laws allow families and the police to petition the court to prevent someone legally determined to be a threat to themselves or others from accessing a gun and escalating the situation. Whitmer signed Michigan’s risk protection law in May 2023.
“This funding provides an excellent opportunity for the communities we serve to enact or enhance programs aimed at reducing gun violence,” Col. James F. Grady II, director of the Michigan State Police, said in the statement released by Whitmer’s office on Jan. 8.
The state police said programs would be considered for grants that are aimed at preventing and reducing intimate partner violence, providing counseling for youths focused on violence prevention, and offering community education and training related to gun violence prevention.
Under the Safer Communities Act, Michigan was given enough money to fund grants under the Byrne State Crisis Intervention program for at least four years. When the Safer Communities Act was being debated in Congress, five of the seven Republicans representing Michigan in the House opposed it.
“I voted against this bill because it would take the hard-earned money of Michigan taxpayers and give it to states so they can enforce unconstitutional laws that deny Americans their due process and Second Amendment rights,” Rep. John Moolenaar said in a June 24, 2022, statement following his vote.
The state’s Democratic representatives voted in favor of the law, along with its Democratic Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.
“We don’t have to live in a country where we read heartbreaking headlines every single day. After decades of inaction, this bipartisan legislation is an important step to combat gun violence, invest in schools, and create a better, safer nation,” Stabenow said in a June 2022 release.
According to data from the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, in an average year more than 1,100 people die as a result of gun use in Michigan. Sixty perecent of those deaths are suicides, and 38% are homicides.
In Michigan, firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teenagers, and Black children and teens are four times as likely to die by guns as white children and teens.