Montana Gets Nearly $1.4 Million to Prevent Gun Violence
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On February 22, 2023, Montana’s U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich announced that a grant of just over $1.3 million was given to the Montana Board of Crime Control as part of the U.S. Justice Department’s Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program. KGVO News reached out to Laslovich who provided this exclusive interview about the funding.
"This is a grant that was awarded to the Montana Board of Crime Control from the U.S. Department of Justice,” Laslovich said. “They awarded grants to every state in the country. For us to get $1.4 million is a substantial investment to help reduce gun violence.”
The funds are being used primarily for states with ‘red flag laws’, which does not include Montana. However, Laslovich explained how the funding will assist Montana law enforcement.
"The focus from the U.S. Department of Justice is on, what they call extreme risk protection orders, which is another way of saying red flag laws,” Laslovich said. “We don’t have red flag laws in Montana. Red flag laws allow a law enforcement officer, or someone who perhaps believes they are a victim of domestic violence, to petition the court to seek a restraining order to restrain the individual from having access or purchasing a firearm.”
Laslovich also said the funds will assist Montanans who have been victims of gun violence.
“The Board of Crime Control, in their application, is going to use a crisis intervention advisory board that will be comprised of a variety of members from different backgrounds as they explore ways to help people who are victims of gun violence, and importantly, to prevent people from being victims of gun violence,” Laslovich said. “We are looking forward to seeing what this money will do for us in Montana.”
Laslovich said one of the goals of the grant is to dispose of firearms used in criminal activity where it is legally allowed.
“When we get involved and there is a crime of violence involving a gun, more often than not, we will seek to forfeit the gun,” Laslovich said. “We would need a judge to decide and someone, of course, would have to be found guilty of that crime of violence. There are lots of steps. We can’t just do that unilaterally. In those instances, the gun can be dismantled and ultimately disposed of.”
The funds are part of a bill passed recently by President Biden called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.