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Heinrich Announces Funding from Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to Invest in Mental Health Services in New Mexico

The funding comes from the landmark public safety law Senator Heinrich helped negotiate

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) announced that New Mexico will receive $323,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This is the first of three years of funding that New Mexico will receive under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that Heinrich negotiated and passed into law in June 2022. This funding will go to New Mexico’s Department of Human Services to expand access to mental health care across the state. Permissible expenses include funding mental health and support services not otherwise covered by public or private health insurance, increasing awareness of mental health resources, and determining effectiveness of ongoing behavioral health efforts.  
“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is delivering the resources we need to improve public safety in New Mexico, while also increasing access to mental health care for kids and adults throughout our state. I negotiated and fought to pass this legislation because I believe the American people want to know they are safe, whether at the movie theatre, a grocery store, or in school. This law is a step on the way there,” said Heinrich. "Our bipartisan legislation has given law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to stop firearm trafficking within and across our borders and also unlocked new federal funding to increase the number of New Mexicans who can access the mental health care they need in their own communities. I look forward to continuing to welcome the resources this legislation delivered for years to come.”    
After the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May 2022, Senator Heinrich joined a small group of Senate colleagues to negotiate the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first significant federal gun safety legislation in 30 years.
Senators Heinrich and Susan Collins (R-Maine) specifically worked together to secure two key provisions that made firearm trafficking and straw purchases criminal offenses punishable by up to 15 years in prison.  Prior to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, it was only a federal criminal offense to smuggle firearms into the United States – not out of the United States. Firearms trafficked out of the United States are estimated to be used in nearly 70 percent of crimes involving a firearm in Mexico and nearly half of crimes involving a firearm in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala,fueling the violence that is a root cause of migration out of those countries.
According to the Department of Justice, as of June 2023, federal law enforcement and prosecutors have already used Heinrich’s provisions to charge more than 100 defendants with illegal firearms trafficking and straw purchasing offenses. Similarly, the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security seized nearly 2,000 firearms and 80,000 rounds of ammunition being trafficked from the United States to Mexico in the first half of Fiscal Year 2023. This was a 65.8% increase in the seizure of firearms being trafficked out of the United States compared to the same period in Fiscal Year 2022, before the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and Heinrich’s trafficking provisions, were passed into law.
During a June 14, 2023 meeting with all U.S. attorneys and leaders of federal law enforcement agencies, Attorney General Garland reiterated his February 2022 directive to federal prosecutors to increase resources for investigations against unlawful firearm dealing and trafficking pipelines. 
Find more information about the provisions Heinrich secured in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act here.