Washington, D.C. – Each day in the United States, about 100 individuals are killed with guns, totaling more than 36,000 deaths annually. Approximately 100,000 more Americans survive gun-related injuries each year. To address the challenges faced by these survivors and their friends, families and caregivers, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representative Dwight Evans (D-PA-3) introduced the Resources for Victims of Gun Violence Act, which would establish an interagency Advisory Council to gather and disseminate information about the resources, programs and benefits that can help victims of gun violence.
“We can’t stop pushing for the common-sense measures that will help prevent gun violence from happening,” said Senator Casey. “But we must also acknowledge the reality of our gun violence problem and make sure that survivors, families, friends and caregivers have the support they need to recover and manage their longer-term needs. That’s what this bill is aiming to do, and I hope that Congress will take it up. There are millions of Americans who have been affected by gun violence and could benefit from this legislation.”
“I’m optimistic about the chances of gaining support for our bill,” Congressman Evans said. “This bill has nothing to do with gun rights and everything to do with helping victims of crime. This is something Americans across the political spectrum should be able to support. I thank Senator Casey for his leadership on this issue.”
More on The Resources for Victims of Gun Violence Act:
Many programs and benefits at the federal, state and local levels that may help gun violence victims meet their needs can be difficult to find and navigate, as victims noted in a 2018 Philadelphia Inquirer feature titled Shot and Forgotten. The legislation would establish an Advisory Council to help victims of gun violence—including survivors and the families, classmates, coworkers and other associates of individuals affected by gun violence—learn about and access the resources, programs and benefits that could help them meet a wide range of personal needs.
- The interagency Advisory Council would be composed of federal representatives from HHS, DOJ, the Department of Education, HUD, the VA, the Social Security Administration and other agencies, as well as victims of gun violence and victim assistance professionals like medical professionals and social workers.
- The Advisory Council would be required to assess the needs of victims of gun violence (including medical, legal, financial, educational, workplace, housing, transportation, assistive technology and accessibility needs), as well as gather and disseminate information about the resources, programs and benefits that could help victims meet their needs.
- In addition to disseminating information to the public, the Advisory Council would be required to submit to Congress a report on these resources and identify any gaps in policy that the government could address.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Joseph D. Morelle (D-NY-25), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-05), Grace Meng (D-NY-06), Marc Veasey (D-TX-33) and Mike Doyle (D-PA-18) joined in this effort.
The bill is supported by Everytown For Gun Safety, CeaseFirePA, Squirrel Hill Stands Against Gun Violence, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, March For Our Lives, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Survivors Empowered Action, Newtown Action Alliance and Junior Newtown Action Alliance.
A copy of the bill can be found here.