Senate committee approves Illinois Republican’s anti-gang initiative

In an effort to combat gang violence, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a funding plan to reduce crime and gun access nationwide.

The committee approved the 2014 fiscal year Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill with a vote of 21-9. In total, it allocates $52.3 billion for the initiative. $19.5 million will go directly to fighting gangs by expanding anti-gang investigative units within local law enforcement, among other methods. They also plan to boost education and community programs to reduce homicides in cities like Chicago.

In addition, the CJS bill increases funding for the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The FBI will use the extra money to enhance its National Instant Criminal Background Check System and ensure criminals are not getting their hands on weapons.

This initiative was led in part by U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. Back in February, Kirk met with the family of Chicago resident Hadiya Pendleton after her death and was inspired to pursue legislation that would limit gangs’ weapon supply. While he was focused on Chicago throughout the process, the CJS initiative will have an impact across the country.

“This bill provides necessary funding to combat gangs of national significance. We have a coordinated effort to take down nationally significant gangs, like the Gangster Disciples in Chicago – the gang responsible for killing 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton earlier this year,” Kirk said. “With this new funding for initiatives to fight violent crime and street gangs, I remain focused on aggressively solving this issue. At every level of government, we must do all we can to keep our communities safe, prevent senseless tragedies and save lives.”  

More on Kirk’s initiative and the Committee’s opinion can be found at the Library of Congress: