Community members created a memorial at the site of the March 22, 2021, mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers store, seen on April 24, 2021. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)
Rep. Joe Neguse introduced a package of bills Tuesday designed to prevent mass shootings and provide resources to victims, especially workers, who survive.
“The legislation that we are announcing today is born from the deep anguish that we feel at each of these tragedies and the deep desire we have to ensure that each of these tragedies don’t happen again,” the Boulder Democrat said during a press conference at the #BoulderStrong Resource Center, which was set up to support survivors from the March 2021 King Soopers shooting.
Neguse serves as the Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce. He called the legislation part of “common sense” measures that are not mutually exclusive to other gun violence prevention strategies. Gun reform proposals have faced opposition in recent years in a deeply divided Congress.
Colorado residents have suffered from last year’s King Soopers shooting, the 1999 Columbine high school shooting and the Aurora movie theater shooting, among others.
“We also know that gun violence we’ve experienced in Colorado is not unique to our state. Across the nation, communities like ours have been plagued by the epidemic of gun violence,” Neguse said.
“That’s why we’re unveiling the legislative package that we’re introducing today in Washington to promote healing, to expand worker safety, to increase access to mental health and trauma resources and to provide preventative security measures to safeguard workers and safeguard our communities.”
Neguse is sponsoring the following bills:
- The STOP Violence Act would fund preventative security at potential mass shooting sites and public assembly facilities. It would expand the Department of Justice’s anti-terrorism and emergency funding program to include places like grocery stores and other potential shooting sites. Preventative security could mean installing shatter-proof glass windows and emergency response systems.
- The Help for Healing Communities Act would establish a federal grant program for mental health services for survivors.
- The Safe Workplaces Act would authorize a study on the threats of violence in the workplace. After that study, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would develop best practices for employees in the face of threats such as active shooters.
- The Prioritizing Resources for Victims of Firearm Violence Act would ensure that states allocate at least 10% of Victims of Crime Act funding to programs that provide mental health services to victims of firearm violence.
Supporters said the emphasis on resources for the safety of workers is especially important.
“There is such an impact, particularly for those who have to return to the workplace in which it happened. They have to go back to the place where their friends and work family members were killed. They need help and they need support,” Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.
Cosponsors of the bills include Reps. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas; Lucy McBath, D-Ga.; Ted Deutch, D-Fla.; Nikema Williams, D-Ga.; André Carson, D-Ind. and David Cicilline, D-R.I.
“We have to give resources to victims who have suffered from gun violence and we have to have a sustained commitment to those victims that we will see them through their recovery, and that’s what these bills do. It’s an amazing start and I’m proud to support it,” Adams County District Attorney Brian Mason said.
On Monday, President Joe Biden announced a plan to ban the business of manufacturing untraceable ghost guns, which Neguse called a “decisive, executive action” in a tweet. Last week, Neguse sent a letter to Biden reiterating the need for a White House Office of Gun Violence.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.