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Kinzinger, Ruppersberger Work to End Cycle of Gun Violence

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Washington, February 13, 2020 | Maura Gillespie (202-225-3635) | comments
This week, Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) introduced legislation to expand hospital-based violence intervention programs around the country.
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WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) introduced legislation to expand hospital-based violence intervention programs around the country. Their bipartisan effort, H.R.5855 – the Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act, provides $10 million in federal grants to hospitals that offer services to victims of violent crime while they are recovering from their injuries.

Across the country, trauma centers see many ‘repeat customers’ caught in a revolving door of violent reinjury and readmission to the hospital. One of the leading risk factors for violence injury is a prior violent injury.

The legislation introduced by Congressmen Ruppersberger and Kinzinger will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to select existing and aspiring violence prevention programs from across the country to receive federal grants for expanding these services or studying their effectiveness. Awards will range from $250,000 to $500,000 and following a three-year pilot run, each hospital will report its findings back to the federal government.

“We undoubtedly have a gun violence epidemic in America, and I believe the community plays a critical role in addressing this crisis,” said Congressman Kinzinger. “Today, I’m proud to introduce legislation with my colleague to fund violence intervention programs. By supporting victims with the resources and education to pursue a different path, we can stop the vicious cycle of gun violence and give people hope for a better tomorrow.”

 “Violent crime costs American taxpayers more than $42 billion – from police, courts and jails, to the medical expenses of victims, to the lost wages to both victims and perpetrators,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “We need to find innovative solutions to stop the violence. The violence intervention program at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center has shown tremendous promise and I hope this bill will enable other hospitals around the country to model their strategy.”

This legislation was first introduced by Congressman Ruppersberger in 2019, and was modeled after the Violence Intervention Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, where a staggering 20% of patients are victims of violence, usually stabbings and shootings. These patients are a captive audience, confined to a bed and off the streets, if only for a few days, program administrators say. Participants receive a bed-side assessment, counseling and a broad range of support that could include groceries, bus money, substance abuse treatment, job training or help finding affordable housing.

In October 2019, Congressman Kinzinger participated in a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Field Hearing in Chicago on “A Public Health Crisis: The Gun Violence Epidemic in America.” As the only Republican in attendance, Congressman Kinzinger served as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Health and his comments from the event can be found here.

Following the two mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH this summer, Congressman Kinzinger took a strong stance on curbing gun violence by publishing this Medium post on the issue. More on this topic can be found on Congressman Kinzinger’s YouTube page here by clicking the “Addressing Gun Violence Responsibly” playlist.

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