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.
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.
“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.”