WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.-10) on Wednesday introduced legislation to establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The Office of Gun Violence Prevention Act would bring together those most impacted by gun violence with leaders across federal agencies to advance policy, collect and report data, expand state and local outreach, and maximize existing programs and services related to preventing gun violence. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) co-sponsored the legislation.
“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is the most significant gun safety legislation in thirty years, and we need to make sure the federal government is totally focused on using it to save as many lives as humanly possible. A dedicated office at the Department of Justice will help make sure state, local, and federal agencies are working together to enforce gun safety laws, educate the public, and fund gun violence prevention programs that work. I’m proud to partner with Congressman Frost on this legislation to ensure ending gun violence remains a top priority for every Administration – Republican or Democratic,” said Murphy.
“As someone who grew up in a generation defined by mass shootings, an organizer to end this violent cycle since I was 15, and a survivor of gun violence myself, I came to Congress to continue the fight for a nation without fear, that’s why I ensured this was the first legislation I introduced,” said Frost. “In Orlando, just a few weeks ago, 3 people were shot and killed, including a 9 year-old girl. Gun violence is a daily event in this country, so, at the federal level, we must work on this issue every single day until we end this epidemic and establish this as a national priority– an Office of Gun Violence Prevention is the right first step.”
“A central point of leadership is vital to federal efforts against the epidemic of gun violence,” said Blumenthal. “This new office can help marshal and focus the diverse resources and partners necessary to make progress. It can bring together survivors, students, veterans, families and others tragically impacted with policymakers and law enforcement officials in hands-on programs to stop this scourge. The Office of Gun Violence Prevention would be more than just a symbol; it would mobilize professionals across federal agencies, enable outreach to state and local leaders, collect and report more data, and innovate with other expanded action. This proposal should be noncontroversial and bipartisan.”
Specifically, the newly created Office of Gun Violence Prevention would:
1. Convene an Advisory Council of senior DOJ officials, survivors, community violence intervention providers, public health officials, medical professionals who provide trauma care, mental health clinicians, state and local public health department officials, teachers, members of student groups, and veterans.
2. Coordinate gun violence prevention efforts across federal agencies.
3. Identify gaps in data needed for gun violence prevention research, policy development, and strategy implementation, and develop a plan to collect and analyze the data.
4. Make policy recommendations.
5. Educate the general public about federal laws, regulations, and available grant programs, including awareness campaigns directed at firearm owners, parents and legal guardians of minors, and gun violence prevention professionals, that include education related to safe storage of firearms and suicide prevention.
6. Work to optimize the administration of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
7. Annually report information to Congress on gun violence in the United States, recommendations for policy initiatives to reduce gun violence, and a description of the Director’s activities.
“The multifaceted nature of gun violence requires comprehensive solutions, and this bill will provide a much-needed framework for coordinated federal action, research, and resources when our country needs it most. By bringing together the efforts of multiple federal agencies to study, investigate, and develop policies that reduce gun violence in all of its forms, this legislation will help ensure that the U.S. is better equipped to protect communities across the country. Brady is proud to endorse this legislation and applauds Senator Murphy and Congressman Frost for their leadership,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady.
"The establishment of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, as proposed by the Office of Gun Violence Prevention Act, epitomizes the innovative and bold effort to create an all of governmental to tackle the pervasive issue of gun violence," said Greg Jackson, Executive Director of Community Justice Action Fund. "Considering gun violence is a leading cause of premature death for children, Black men and women, and Latino men in the United States, our communities are in dire need of a comprehensive, multi-faceted public health response. Community Justice Action Fund is eager to collaborate with dedicated leaders like Congressman Maxwell Frost and Senator Chris Murphy, who are unwavering in their commitment to address the underlying causes of violence, support survivors, transform communities, and most importantly, save lives."
"Gun deaths are a crisis in America, and it demands a crisis response. For some time now, March For Our Lives has called on the President to establish an Office of Gun Violence prevention to help coordinate the government's response to the epidemic of gun death," said David Hogg, Co-Founder of March For Our Lives. "This bill would do just that, and ensure that the government takes a holistic approach to ending gun violence at its roots. I'm grateful to Senator Murphy, a dear friend of the movement, for proposing this bill, and overjoyed to see another dear friend proposing it in the House--Rep. Maxwell Frost. We knew that when we elected our first ever Gen-Z member of congress, we would have a clear, courageous, and consistent voice for our generation. We have that now in Representative Frost, his first bill clarifies what young people have long been calling for--action on gun safety now."
“Since my neighbor killed 20 children and six educators in Sandy Hook Elementary School over 10 years ago, over one million Americans have been shot, there have been over 4,400 mass shooting incidents, and the number of gun deaths is steadily rising. It’s long past time for the federal government to get serious about ending the gun violence public health crisis in our nation. A federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention is needed to ensure ending gun violence is a permanent national priority and we thank Representative Frost and Senator Murphy for introducing this crucial legislation and we urge Congress to urgently pass the bill and deliver it to President Biden’s desk,” said Po Murray, the chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance.
“Ten years ago, I survived the Sandy Hook shooting at my elementary school. Since then, guns have become the number one cause of death for American children and teens. For the last decade, we grew up being traumatized and retraumatized by more school shootings, mass shootings, lockdowns, and escalating gun violence in our streets and homes in all corners of America. Enough is enough. We need the federal government to act with a sense of urgency to protect kids from gun violence and passing a bill establishing an Office of Gun Violence Prevention will signal to all young people that our lives matter,” said Nicole Melchionno, co-chair of Jr. Newtown Action Alliance.
"Hope is not a strategy. America needs coordinated action to tackle the devastating impact gun violence has in Americans' daily lives. Bravo to Senator Murphy, Senator Blumenthal and Representative Frost for innovating a new, effective way to fight this uniquely American epidemic. Public policy can save lives,” said Kitty Brandtner, founder of March Fourth.