Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee passed a bill to create the Office of Gun Violence Prevention as a clearinghouse for mental health, educational, and gun safety resources
DENVER, CO– The House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee today advanced Reps. Tom Sullivan and Jennifer Bacon’s bill to create the Office of Gun Violence Prevention . The bill passed by a vote of 8-5.
“I’m often confronted with the question of why mass shootings seem to happen more in Colorado than in any other place,” said Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial. “By collecting data and digging deep into the root causes and effects of gun violence, the office that this bill seeks to create will help us find answers to this question so we can prevent mass shootings and save lives. I’m immensely proud of our state and my colleagues for taking bold action on gun violence prevention this year.”
“Too many young people across the state, especially in Black and Brown communities, have had their lives cut short or forever changed at the hands of a firearm,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “If we are serious about saving lives, we have to treat gun violence like the epidemic it is. That’s why I’m so proud that the Office of Gun Violence Prevention will take a holistic approach to tackling gun violence, leveraging existing prevention and mental health resources, collecting data, and investing in community-led violence prevention and interruption programs.”
HB21-1299 establishes the Office of Gun Violence Prevention under the Department of Public Health and Environment. The Office would be responsible for conducting public awareness campaigns about gun violence prevention. It would educate the public about existing state resources and laws, including how to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order, how to access mental health resources, and how to store firearms securely.
The office would also fund proven community-based violence intervention programs that are focused on interrupting cycles of gun violence through competitive grants. Finally, the Office would be tasked with promoting research and presenting gun violence prevention tools and resources that would be available to the public and to create and maintain a database of research regarding gun violence in Colorado.