Representative Sullivan, bill sponsor, introduced and explained HB21-1299. This bill establishes the Office of Gun Violence Prevention (the office) in the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) with the purpose of coordinating and promoting efforts to reduce gun violence.
Office of Gun Violence Prevention. The CDPHE director must appoint the office director, who in turn is required to hire staff. At a minimum, the office is required to have 1 FTE in FY 2021-22 and 2 FTE in FY 2022-23. The office may collaborate with other state agencies to carry out its responsibilities, including the Address Confidentiality Program, the Office of Suicide Prevention, the Safe2Tell program, the School Safety Resource Center, the Department of Education, the Office of Behavioral Health, the Attorney General, and the Division of Criminal Justice, as well as other organizations with expertise in gun violence prevention and gun safety. The office must identify and apply for available federal grants and other funding to further its work, and may seek, accept, and expend these funds.
Public awareness campaign. The office is required to conduct an education campaign with the goal of increasing general public awareness of state and federal laws and resources relating to gun violence prevention. The campaign is directed towards gun owners, parents and legal guardians of children, and professions that provide services to communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence. In addition, the office must develop materials and training resources for local law enforcement, healthcare providers, and educators in multiple languages.
Grant program. Subject to available money, the office must establish a grant program to award organizations that conduct community-based gun violence intervention initiatives. The office should promulgate rules for awarding grants, including application procedures, grant terms, and reporting requirements. Grant recipients must be able to demonstrate the ability to conduct effective programs and, in selecting recipients, the office should prioritize organizations working in communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence.
Resource bank. The office is required to create and maintain a resource bank for data, research, and statistics on gun violence in Colorado, and is required to collaborate with researchers to improve data collection, enhance prevention tools, and provide resources to communities. Reporting. Beginning in November 2021, the office is required to submit annual reports to the CDPHE detailing information about the education campaign, any effective programs or research identified, and any federal grants or other funding procured. The CDPHE must include a summary of this report in their SMART Act hearing.