Gun violence prevention legislation announced
Screengrab from US Sen. Chris Murphy’s Facebook page where Wednesday’s announcement was held near the US Capitol Building. Credit: Screengrab / US Sen. Chris Murphy's Facebook page

On the same day and at almost the same time that two faculty members at a Denver high school were shot by a student, Connecticut’s U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, D-Fla., announced new bicameral legislation that they say will prevent gun violence and save lives.

This is the first bill written by rookie Frost. It is being co-authored by Murphy and Blumenthal. 

The bill will create an Office to Prevent Gun Violence under the Department of Justice. The staff will be dedicated each and every day to take on the battle of gun violence in the country. 

If created, the new office would collect and report data on gun violence, engage public agencies on the issue, make policy recommendations to lawmakers and the president, educate the public and report annually to Congress.

“It is sad that as I walked here from my office in the Capitol that I heard there was another school shooting in Denver,” Frost said during Wednesday’s announcement outside the US Capitol Building. “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.”

In Orlando, just a few weeks ago, three people were shot and killed, including a 9-year-old girl. Frost said gun violence is a daily event in this country, so, at the federal level, he wants to end the epidemic.

“I was determined that my first piece of legislation when I got here to Washington would be one that dealt with trying to end gun violence. The leading cause of death for children in this country is gun violence. This bill will help save lives as it will be both proactive and reactive,” Frost said. 

Murphy, who has been a staunch advocate of gun violence prevention and helped author and pass the ‘Safer Communities Act,’ said he’s proud to be a co-sponsor. 

“Sandy Hook changed my life and I am inspired by the people we have behind us, survivors, family members and advocates from school shooting incidents. I’m proud to be part of the movement and we’re seeing the anti-gun lobby become more powerful than the government,” Murphy said. “Is creating this office enough? No, not even nearly close enough to what we need. So why do this? Because we have brought together multiple agencies, the DOJ, the FBI, the DEA, Homeland Security, they will all be part of this office and the decisions that are made in this office.”

Blumenthal said he was inspired by the family and friends who continue to share their stories in order to get legislation like this passed. 

“When I was a boy we used to have drills where we hid under our desks at school in preparation for a possible nuclear attack,” Blumenthal said. “Now our kids have to practice active shooter drills more than they do fire drills. We got past having to hide under our desks for nuclear drills and we need to get past having to perform active shooter drills as well.”

Blumenthal said 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,” Blumenthal added. 

With Republicans in control of the House the bill will likely face an uphill challenge.

Proud to join Rep. Maxwell Frost to talk about our bill to create a permanent Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Gun violence happens every day— the fight to end it should too. Tune in:

Posted by Senator Chris Murphy on Wednesday, March 22, 2023