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April 21, 2024

Bill to Bolster Crime Victim Support, Behavioral Health Programs Passes House

New funds would go to crime victims grant programs, public safety grants, and behavioral health services

DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation sponsored by Majority Leader Monica Duran and Representative Meg Froelich to refer a measure to the ballot that would fund the Colorado Crime Victims Services, School Security Disbursement Program, and behavioral health crisis response system services by creating an excise tax on the firearm industry. HB24-1349 passed by a vote of 44-18.

“When I was a young single mother, victim support services played a significant role in helping me navigate the judicial system so I could safely escape my abuser,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “With funding for victim services significantly reducing in the coming years, Colorado victims will lose access to essential resources that will help keep them safe and healthy. Our legislation would allow Colorado voters to decide if we should create an excise tax on firearms so we can continue to fund victim services. I would not be where I am today without these services, and by creating this excise tax, we can ensure that other survivors will have the resources they need to put their lives back together.”

“Survivors of domestic abuse face the challenges of navigating the legal system to seek justice, beginning the healing process, and obtaining safe housing and financial security,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “Unfortunately the safety net services for survivors are desperately underfunded and facing drastic cuts in federal funding. Firearms play a significant role in these crimes. So we’re giving Colorado voters to create a small tax on firearm purchases that will boost funding for life-saving victim services.”

If approved by voters in the November 2024 election, HB24-1349 would create a new excise tax on gun dealers, gun manufacturers, and ammunition vendors beginning April 1, 2025. As amended, this bill would generate approximately $54 million annually. If approved by Colorado voters, the funds would be allocated in the following manner:

  • $35 million to the Colorado Crime Victims Services fund for crime victim services grants,

  • $10 million to the School Security Disbursement Program cash fund for grant programs like School Access for Emergency Response Grant Program, School Security Disbursement Grant Program and Youth Violence Prevention Grant Program,

  • $5 million to the Behavioral Health Administration to provide crisis resolution services to youth experiencing a behavioral health crisis,

  • $5 million for mental health services for veterans, and

  • Any remaining funds to the Crime Victim Services fund for additional grants to support crime victims and survivors.

Small businesses with less than $20,000 in annual retail sales and retail sales to peace officers, law enforcement agencies, and active duty military members are exempt from this bill.

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