For Immediate Release:
February 6, 2024

For More Information:
Adam Garber, Executive Director, (267) 515-1220,
Brandon Flood, Deputy Director for Policy,(717) 623-2432,
Hasshan Batts, Promise Neighborhoods of Lehigh Valley,

Harrisburg– Governor Shapiro proposed a FY25 budget that includes a $100 million investment in violence reduction efforts, including community-based solutions, blight reduction, and law enforcement strategies to ensure dealers comply with gun safety laws. The funding through the PA Commission on Crime & Delinquency builds on past efforts, which contributed to a 20% decrease in homicides in Philadelphia and 27% in Pittsburgh.

CeaseFirePA Education Fund applauds two newly proposed initiatives included in the budget:

  • Creation of an Office of Gun Violence Prevention at the PA Commission on Crime & Delinquency: The office will focus on supporting community-based programs designed to reduce gun violence through technical assistance, capacity support, and research;
  • Hiring Additional Auditors at PA State Police to Inspect Licensed Firearm Dealers: Legally registered firearm dealers are the first line of defense in gun violence prevention. An increase in auditors will expand PSP’s ability to ensure dealers are following the law, similar to a recent initiative that was advanced in Montgomery County in 2023.

Statements from Adam Garber of CeaseFirePA and Dr. Hasshan Batts of Promise Neighborhoods of Lehigh Valley follow.

Adam Garber, CeaseFirePA Education Fund’s Executive Director, issued the following statement in response:

“By letting the green flow from Harrisburg, Gov. Shapiro’s budget will staunch the red from flowing in communities throughout Pennsylvania. Group violence intervention in Philadelphia is halting shootings before people end up in the emergency room. Hospital-based programs in Reading and Lehigh Valley are helping survivors recover and de-escalate potential feuds.”

“In addition, a small number of licensed gun dealers are fueling this crisis by flouting or failing to implement background checks, straw purchase prevention laws, and other gun safety laws. We have sought more inspections through the PA State Police and local Sheriff’s offices. With the $1.5 million allocation, PSP will be able to expand inspections throughout the state to ensure all dealers are fully in compliance with our public safety laws.” 

“Lastly, the creation of a dedicated Office of Gun Violence Prevention under Lt. Governor Davis’ leadership will help dollars reach even further into our communities and support local groups who have been so busy developing innovative solutions that they may have missed  out on applying for and receiving  critical funding.”

Dr. Hasshan Batts of Promise Neighborhoods of Lehigh Valley touted investments in community-centered violence prevention program:

“Gun violence remains the leading cause of death of children under 18 in Pennsylvania, and continued investments in gun violence reduction programs will divert children to graduation instead of the grave. We appreciate the Governor’s continued investments in community-led initiatives to end gun violence across Pennsylvania. Each dollar is a downpayment on the lives and well-being of Pennsylvanians making it through a crisis and then thriving.

Dr. Dorothy Johnson-Speight of Mothers in Charge, Inc. highlighted the impact on families:

“I will never lose the pain of having lost my child.  But today’s budget will help ensure more mothers don’t have to feel the same pain by helping kids puts the guns down and stopping trafficking that costs too many lives. We look forward to working with Gov. Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Davis on saving the next child’s life.”

Facing the truth about gun violence in PA