Illinois governor calls gun violence a public health crisis

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared gun violence a public health crisis on Monday, saying $250 million in state and federal money will be directed toward the issue over the next three years.

Public health experts and medical groups have called gun violence a public health crisis for years. Over the summer, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order declaring a “disaster emergency ” on gun violence in the state.

Pritzker’s office said about $50 million of the Illinois effort will come from the current state budget with the same approach in the following two years. Community organizations will be able to apply for funding in areas including youth intervention programs, trauma recovery and other mental health services.

Pritzker, a Democrat, called it “an unprecedented statewide investment in the pursuit of violence reduction.”

The move comes amid an increase in gun violence in several Illinois cities. Earlier this month, Peoria recorded a 30-year record for homicides. Violent crime has also spiked in Chicago, from expressway shootings to a rise in carjackings.

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