Proposal: Commission for the Prevention of Firearm Deaths

Today I’m announcing my commitment to bring reasonable, effective gun policy measures to the state capitol. As a parent it’s impossible for me to sit back and watch as American children are routinely subjected to gun violence. If we refuse to move forward with common sense reforms it eventually will be our families that are affected and I think it’s completely beneath America, our citizens, and our values to throw up our hands and surrender. With hard work we can reduce gun violence in Colorado.

With that in mind, I will sponsor a bill that would create the Commission for the Prevention of Firearm Deaths in Colorado. This bipartisan commission would be charged with investigating the most effective ways to combat gun violence in our state and change the culture of inaction on gun issues. Gun violence is not limited to the months the legislature is in session, we need a permanent commission that can receive feedback and work on this issue at any time.

To do this I truly want the commission to have representatives from multiple perspectives of gun policy. That is why I am proposing a bipartisan commission of seven Coloradans, from multiple regions of the state, representing these areas of expertise:

  • hunting/firearm sportsmanship industry
  • school boards of directors or educators
  • firearms training/recreation industry
  • community safety/crime prevention advocacy
  • mental health treatment providers or policy groups
  • law enforcement officers
  • the community at-large

I believe it’s important to include people from these groups for a variety of reasons. Hunters and shooting sports participants are often affected by policies designed to prevent gun violence but inadvertently make their recreation burdensome; hunters in particular contribute a tremendous amount to the vitality of Colorado’s parks and open space that is often overlooked.

It is also important to appoint a representative of the firearms training industry, if we seek to develop policy that requires training and background checks we must have a voice for how to effectively implement those policies in Colorado.

Next, although I am frustrated when gun violence is spun as solely a mental health issue, it is obvious that those who are capable of committing mass murder suffer from severe mental health and social isolation problems. Part of reducing firearm deaths and mass shootings in our state must be to address the nexus of mental health and gun violence, and we must give our law enforcement officers the training, funding, and authority to intervene when someone dangerous has access to deadly weapons.

The commission will be directed to address these critical areas: (1) evaluating what firearms, magazines, ammunition, and accessories should be available for sale in Colorado; (2) determining who should be lawfully allowed to purchase firearms; (3) addressing when, where, and by whom concealed weapons should be allowed in Colorado; (4) recommending improvements and best practices for firearms safety and training; (5) evaluating school safety in relation to gun violence; (6) recommending policy to address mental health issues and associated gun violence; (7) encouraging appropriate recreation and sportsmanship involving firearms; (8) protection of law enforcement officers from gun violence; (9) intervention of law enforcement officers with dangerous individuals or groups that possess firearms; and (10) the prevention of firearm-related death and injury in Colorado.

The commission will be required to make annual reports and recommendations to the state legislature, Governor’s office, state agencies, and law enforcement community.

I will introduce this bill and work across the aisle and with the Governor’s office to improve the proposal, but we must start forming institutional change at the state and local level. That work continues with new resolve today and I’ll be working on this issue throughout the campaign and into the legislature.

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Barrett Rothe
Candidate for House District 43

Barrett Rothe