Rep. Neguse introduces legislative package intended to curb gun violence
With Colorado approaching 100 gun-related deaths within the first four months of 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive Organization, U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse has introduced three bills he deems to be “common-sense” measures focused on gun violence prevention and workplace safety.
According to Neguse, the bills aim to prevent the sale of guns to people convicted of violent misdemeanors, enforce state age requirements during federal background checks and bolster security measures in public spaces to prevent mass shootings.
Among Rep. Neguse’s legislative package is the End Gun Violence Act, which would prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition to anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor within the last five years. The bill seeks to create a nationwide mandate banning people convicted of certain misdemeanors from purchasing handguns, as only 22 states currently have such bans.
The proposed legislation also looks to add state-level age requirements to the list of existing federal prohibitors in background checks for purchasing a firearm. The Secure Background Checks Act would ensure that underage firearm purchasers cannot travel out of state to obtain firearms that would otherwise be illegal to purchase in their state of residence.
In proposing the bills, Neguse cited an incident in which an 18-year-old woman traveled from Florida to Colorado to buy a firearm. In 2019, Sol Pais bought a firearm in Colorado that would have been illegal for her to purchase in Florida. While in Colorado, Pais threatened a number of Denver-area schools with mass violence, saying she looked to invoke the memory of the Columbine school shooting.
Neguse said Pais’ ability to purchase a gun in Colorado identified a weakness in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and the proposed legislation seeks to address that.
If passed, the third bill would expand federal funding for preventative security measures at public assembly facilities.
Originally crafted by Neguse in 2021 in response to the King Soopers shooting that killed 10 people in Boulder, the Stop Violence Act was written in recognition that mass shooters often target public spaces like grocery stores, movie theaters and schools.
As a result, the bill would allow local governments to use grant funding to provide compensation, training and technical assistance for public facilities looking to carry out heightened security measures.
Kit Geary is the county, public safety and education reporter. To reach her, call 970-871-4229 or email her at kgeary@SteamboatPilot.com.
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