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The office of U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, who represents most of Eagle County in Congress, issued the following press release Friday on a package of bills he introduced aimed at preventing gun violence and improving workplace safety:
Congressman Joe Neguse, Vice-Chair of the U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, introduced a legislative package focused on gun violence prevention and workplace safety. These common-sense measures will prevent the sale of guns to people convicted of violent misdemeanors, enforce state age requirements during background checks, and bolster security measures in public spaces to prevent mass shootings.
“Every day, gun violence continues to devastate communities across our country, including here in Colorado,” said Congressman Neguse. “From Columbine to Aurora, and Colorado Springs to Boulder, countless Coloradans know all too well the pain of gun violence and devastating mass shootings. We must do more to save lives and prevent these tragedies from happening again. That is why I am proud to introduce this package of common-sense legislation — which will help us build safer communities across our state and country.”
This package follows Congressman Neguse’s work to close the loophole that enabled the King Soopers shooter to use a stabilizing brace to make his semi-automatic pistol more deadly. After the shooting, Congressman Neguse led a letter, signed by over 100 Members of Congress, to the Biden administration to implore the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to regulate this style of weapon. In response to the letter, President Biden announced that stabilizing braces would be subject to federal regulation by the ATF.
Last week, Congressman Neguse spoke out against Republican attempts to overturn this commonsense federal rule that would regulate stabilizing braces. Under the proposed Republican legislation, the ATF would no longer be able to conduct oversight on the use of these deadly devices.
“Three months later [after the ATF rescinded their guidance on classifying stabilizing braces], a murderer in Boulder, Colorado used a Ruger AR-556 pistol equipped with an SB Tactical SBA3 brace to kill ten people, ten of my constituents,” said Congressman Neguse at the hearing. “… We could be taking up bills to build safer communities [tonight] …But instead, we’re here debating a measure to undermine federal law enforcement’s efforts when it sought to crack down on those who were using stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles to evade the NFA [National Firearms Act].”
The Congressman’s full remarks can be viewed here, and information about the package of gun violence bills can be found below.
The package of bills includes the following:
· End Gun Violence Act: This bill would prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition to anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor crime for five years. Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia ban handgun purchases by people convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes. However, these individuals are still eligible to purchase firearms in the remaining states, creating a patchwork of eligibility and increasing the risk of gun violence.
o View End Gun Violence Act one-pager here.
o Read bill text here.
· Secure Background Checks Act: This bill would add state-level age requirements to the list of federal prohibitors that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check already identifies. In making this change to the NICS background check system, this bill will ensure that underage firearm purchasers cannot simply travel out of state to obtain illegal firearms in their state of residence.
o This bill follows a letter led by Congressman Neguse to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to identify the weakness in NICS that allowed an 18-year-old woman to travel from Florida to Colorado and purchase a firearm. The purchase of the gun was legal under Colorado law, but it would have been illegal for her to buy and possess it in her home state of Florida. While in Colorado, the woman threatened mass violence against Denver-area schools, invoking the memory of the Columbine school shooting and causing widespread panic in the area.
o View Secure Background Checks Act one-pager here.
o Read bill text here.
· STOP Violence Act: This bill would expand the Department of Justice’s reserved funds under theEdward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program to provide federal funding for preventative security measures at public assembly facilities. This bill would allow local governments to use grant funding to provide compensation, training, and technical assistance for public facilities that wish to implement security measures against mass shooters.
o Congressman Neguse crafted this bill following the 2021 King Soopers mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, his district. Mass shooters often target public spaces like grocery stores, movie theaters, schools, and elsewhere, and this bill will ensure those spaces have the training and support needed to protect themselves from mass shootings.
o View STOP Violence Act one-pager here.
o Read bill text here.
“The End Gun Violence Act, STOP Violence Act, and Secure Background Checks Act are vital steps towards addressing the multifaceted issue of gun violence in our country. By addressing interpersonal violence, enhancing security measures, promoting workplace safety, and strengthening background checks, these bills collectively take a holistic approach to reduce gun violence and create safer communities. We appreciate Rep. Neguse’s leadership and commitment to meaningful change, and we look forward to working together to support these critical bills,” said Greg Jackson, Community Justice Executive Director.
“Representative Neguse’s bills would strengthen the federal background check system, provide critical resources for the prevention of active shooter incidents, and focus on preventing workplace shootings like the recent mass shooting at the Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky. Each is an important step to reduce America’s epidemic of gun violence,” states Violence Policy Center Government Affairs Director, Kristen Rand.
The first stabilizing brace was submitted to ATF in 2012 and marketed as a tool for disabled veterans that would wrap around the forearm. Soon, the makers of the braces began selling them as devices to be shot from the shoulder. Firearms equipped with “arm braces” are far more accurate, can be used with one hand, and are easier to conceal than a full-length rifle. During the Trump administration, the ATF determined a need for clarity and issued a proposed rule. Ninety House Republicans wrote a letter asking the Trump administration to withdraw the rule, which they did several days later. The King Soopers mass shooting occurred three months after the rule was withdrawn.
Last Congress, Congressman Neguse unveiled a similar package of bills that in addition to preventing mass shootings, would expand worker safety and increase mental health support for impacted communities. Rep. Neguse has also repeatedly called on the Biden Administration to establish an Interagency Gun Violence Prevention Task Force at the White House to ensure a whole of government approach to tackling the epidemic.