July 11, 2022

Rep. Neguse Attends White House Event Marking Enactment of Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

The Colorado Congressman was joined by victims’ families, gun violence prevention advocates, and partnering organizations from across Colorado. 

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Vice-Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, was part of a group of lawmakers and gun violence prevention advocates who joined President Joe Biden at the White House in commemorating the enactment of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Signed on June 25th, the comprehensive, bipartisan package is the first major gun violence prevention legislation in nearly 30 years. Congressman Neguse was accompanied by a group of Coloradans including longtime gun violence prevention advocates State Representative Tom Sullivan, Tom Mauser, and members from Mental Health Partners Colorado.

Colorado State Representative Tom Sullivan lost his son Alex in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting that claimed the lives of 12 individuals. Tom Mauser, who, two years ago, joined Congressman Neguse as his invited guest to the State of the Union in February of 2020, lost his son Daniel in 1999, during the deadly Columbine Highschool shooting. 

“Last month, when President Biden signed the Safer Communities Act, we took an important step forward in our work to end the scourge of gun violence in our country,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “But despite this progress, the Highland Park shooting is a devastating reminder that our work is far from finished. Today, as we mark the historic enactment of the Safer Communities Act, let us recommit ourselves to advancing necessary and lifesaving gun violence prevention legislation to end this deadly epidemic once and for all.”

“It was a very impactful event.” said Colorado State Representative, Tom Sullivan. “It was good to see all of the people who have been active in the state of Colorado participate and finally see something get done. We’ll continue to work hard on the federal level to get [standards] up to the level that Colorado has already attained.”

“It was great to see so many gun violence prevention advocates there. This event gave us hope.” said Tom Mauser. “ I think [the event] has people leaving saying ‘we have a President who not only signed the bill but reassured us that there is more we have to do’ and he outlined some of those things that we need. It was great.”

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Neguse voted in favor of during its final passage in the House of Representatives on Friday, June 24, is a historic package of reforms addressing the gun violence epidemic in America, after mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

Specifically, the Bipartisan Safer Communities law includes: 

  • Support for state crisis intervention orders: providing resources to states and tribes so they can create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others, consistent with state and federal due process and constitutional protections.
  • Investments in child and family mental health services: expanding the community behavioral health center model nationally and spurring major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.
  • Protections for victims of domestic violence: issuing an order that includes convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), including those who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
  • Funding for school-based mental health support services: providing investments in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention programs and school-based mental health and wrap-around services.
  • Funding for school safety resources: providing investments in programs that help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts, and provide training to school personnel and students.
  • Clarification on the definition of a federally licensed firearms dealer: cracking down on criminals responsible for illegally evading licensing requirements.
  • Investments in telehealth: supporting programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
  • An under 21 enhanced review process: making it so buyers under 21 years of age, require an investigative period to review their juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement. 
  • Penalties for straw purchasing: cracking down on criminals who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.

Background

Neguse has made tackling the gun violence epidemic an urgent priority for his office, pushing for measures to promote public safety, keeping kids, families, and communities safe from the devastating incidents of gun violence. In April 2022, Neguse unveiled a legislative package to prevent mass shootings, expand worker safety, and increase mental health and trauma support for communities recovering from tragedy. The package – which consists of the STOP Violence Act, Safe Workplaces Act, Help for Healing Communities Act and the Prioritizing Resources for Victims of Firearm Violence Act – enhances security measures and training protocols to reduce the threat of gun violence at schools, grocery stores, movie theaters, and other community gathering facilities, learn more here. The Congressman also sponsored the End Gun Violence Act, legislation to prohibit individuals with violent misdemeanors from purchasing guns, and the Secure Background Checks Act, which following a 2019 incident in his state, expands the necessary background check process to the federal level. 

In 2021 and 2022, Neguse and Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), led a group of House Democrats in letters to President Biden requesting that he establish an Interagency Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention. Read more here. The letters also ask that the President appoint a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention to chair the Task Force – ensuring a whole government approach to tackling the epidemic. 

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