President Obama proposed spending roughly $4.5 billion extra to curb gun violence on Wednesday, revealing a mix of executive orders, new regulations, and exhortations to Congress.
While that is a substantial amount of money, most of it appears to be going to worthwhile programs – mainly focused on increasing security at schools, training faculty and staff in both crisis prevention and response, and improving coordination between agencies and various levels of government, as well as expanding databases to counter mass shooting threats and bolster the background check program.
Here’s a breakdown of proposed spending:
By far the most expensive measure is a $4 billion proposal to keep 15,000 police on the streets, comprising nearly 89% of all proposed new spending. That comes to approximately $266,666 per officer, though it appears this funding will be provided directly to cities and towns to prop up their law enforcement budgets.
$150 million to fund up to 1,000 new school resource officers and counselors, who can act in a preventative fashion to shootings by improving the access students have to mental health care services.
$50 million to help 8,000 schools train their faculty to implement evidence-based strategies to improve school climate – approximately $6,250 a school. 18,000 schools have already done this with technical assistance from the Department of Education.
$50 million to train more than 5,000 mental health professionals to serve students and young adults.
$40 million for school districts to improve their coordination with law enforcement, mental health agencies, and local organizations, to assure students with mental health problems are able to receive appropriate care under the newly formed Project AWARE.
$30 million for states to improve their emergency management plans at local schools, in the form of “one-time grants.”
$25 million to “state-based” strategies for people with mental health or substance abuse problems to receive access to appropriate services.
$25 million to “offer students mental health services for trauma or anxiety, conflict resolution programs, and other school-based violence prevention strategies.”
$20 million in “incentives” to improve coordination between various levels of government on background checks. These funds improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system, including $20 million in some form of incentive allocations in 2013 and $50 million in 2014.
$20 million to expand the National Violent Death Reporting System, which collects anonymous data on violence crime, from 18 to 50 states.
$15 million for “Mental Health First Aid” training for teachers, also under Project AWARE.
$14 million to ensure more federal, state, and local agencies are prepared to deal with an active shooter. The Obama administration proposes spending these funds to train 14,000 law enforcement officers, “first responders, school officials, and others” who must be prepared to deal with active shooters. The White House will ensure that federal training is provided and kept consistent. At $1,000 a trainee, this appears expensive – though it is likely that these trainees will also be used to coordinate safety preparations at their places of work.
$10 million in grants to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study “the relationship between video games, media images, and violence,” as well as an order to resume studying gun violence.