July 30, 2021

Neguse, Kelly Introduce Bill to Empower Local Governments in Gun Violence Prevention

Washington, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Neguse and Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (IL-02) introduced The Local Public Health and Safety Protection Act to make communities safer by allowing local governments to implement reasonable and appropriate solutions in areas with high rates of firearm injury and death. 

The United States is currently set to record one of the deadliest gun violence years in decades, with many cities and communities experiencing a spike in violence during the summer months. The Local Public Health and Safety Protection Act will empower local governments to address this crisis with innovative solutions to reduce gun violence.

“In Boulder, Littleton, Highlands Ranch and across Colorado, our communities have experienced the tragedy and grief caused by gun violence far too many times. In the face of federal inaction to protect our communities and enact common-sense gun reform, we must ensure local governments have the resources to protect their residents,” said Congressman Joe Neguse, Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “I’m proud to lead the Local Public Health and Safety Protection Act with Congresswoman Robin Kelly to provide resources to local jurisdictions to implement background checks and enact reasonable restrictions on the sale, licensing, transfer and storage of firearms.  Every common-sense step we take has the potential to save a life and prevent undue violence in our neighborhoods.” 

This year, Colorado passed several gun reform measures, including legislation that will allow cities to pass stricter gun laws than the state. The Local Health & Safety Protection Act will help support those communities by providing them necessary resources to enforce those laws. Colorado also enacted laws to prevent people with certain violent misdemeanors from buying a firearm for five years, mandate safe gun storage and lost-firearm reporting, and establish a state Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

“Gun violence is an urgent public health crisis. Across our nation, we are losing more people each day – men, women and even babies – but there are steps we can take to stop the violence,” said Congresswoman Kelly, Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “The needs of each community are unique; we must empower our local leaders to enact commonsense measures to meet those needs and help protect their residents. I am proud to lead this legislation with Congressman Neguse to save lives and stop this senseless, slow-motion massacre.” 

“Gun violence is at crisis levels in communities across the nation, and cities must be empowered to take bold action to protect their citizens,” said Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director at Giffords. “The Local Public Health & Safety Protection Act would lift unnecessary restrictions and allow cities to pass lifesaving gun safety laws in their communities. This legislation from Representatives Kelly and Neguse puts families before special interests. With gun violence surging, Congress should act swiftly to pass it.”

The Local Public Health and Safety Protection Act would authorize the Department of Justice to provide grants to States that allow local jurisdictions to act on the needs of their communities by implementing laws that are more restrictive than the laws of the State. 

Grants established by the bill would be used to assist localities with the implementation of laws relating to:

  • Background checks
  • Carrying of firearms in public places
  • Sale of ammunition
  • Taxes on the sale of firearms, where otherwise permitted
  • Discharge of firearms in public parks and other public places 
  • Straw purchasing of firearms 
  • Licensing for carrying, transferring or purchasing firearms
  • Safely storing firearms
  • Transfer of unusually dangerous firearms 
  • Zoning restrictions on gun dealers

Full text of the bill is available here.