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June 6, 2024

ICYMI: Bill to Bolster Crime Victim Support, Behavioral Health Programs Becomes Law

New law funds crime victims grant programs, public safety grants, and behavioral health services

DENVER, CO - Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed legislation into law administratively to refer a measure to the ballot that would fund the Colorado Crime Victim Services Fund and behavioral health crisis response system services by creating an excise tax on the firearm industry. 

“When I was a young and homeless 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 law allows Colorado voters to decide if we should create an excise tax on guns and ammunition 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.”

“Coloradans have shown time and again that they want to make our communities safer, and supporting crime victims is a critical part of that,” said Senator Chris Hansen, D-Denver. “With this measure, Coloradans will have the chance to vote to ensure victim services like youth behavioral health care and violence prevention are sustained for years to come. These programs are essential across the state and can help cut off the cycle of crime before it continues.”

“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 the option to create a small tax on the firearm industry that will boost funding for life-saving victim services.”

“With federal funding for the Victims of Crime Act to decrease in Colorado by 40 to 50 percent in the next year, it is so important we pass this measure to support victims of crime,” said Senator Janet Buckner, D-Aurora. “Many families in my community rely on services like housing support and legal advocacy as they navigate their painful ordeal – which is why I was proud to sponsor this legislation to create consistent funding for them.”

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. Revenue from the excise tax would be allocated in the following manner:

  • $30 million to the Colorado Crime Victim Services Fund to provide grant funding for services such as: counseling, legal advocacy, and emergency hotel, utility, rental, and attorney expenses,

  • $8 million to the Behavioral Health Administration to provide crisis resolution services to youth experiencing a behavioral health crisis, and to provide mental health services for veterans, and

  • $1 million to support school safety.

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 would be exempt from the tax.

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