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I am writing to support House Bill SB-477/HB-5397, An Act Declaring Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis and Establishing The Office of Gun Violence Prevention, of which State Representative Aimee-Berger Girvalo and State Senator Will Haskell are co-sponsors.
Speaking to voters, an issue that has come up time and again is Connecticut’s response to the recent increase in gun violence. This bill declares gun violence a public health crisis and establishes an Office of Gun Violence Prevention, along with a community-based Advisory Council on Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention. The bill allows for gun violence to be studied and documented, just like any other public health issue in our state.
Democrats will support this bill as common sense. But if intellectual honesty is prioritized, Republican officials can, too. It imposes no additional restrictions on the sale, purchase, possession, ownership or use of any firearms or ammunition. Instead, the bill proposes the Advisory Council, to support initiatives that include prevention and intervention strategies, as well as mental health services — the safety net from which those most at risk of committing or suffering gun violence are most likely to benefit.
In addition, the bill funds programs to conduct evidence–based programs to reduce gun violence without making incarceration our remedy of first resort, and makes data publicly available to researchers. Public policy can then be formed to mitigate the effects of gun violence on public health.
It is past time that both major parties come together and work toward solutions to the problems we have in Connecticut. This bill is a good step in that direction. Its commonsense solutions will make Connecticut a better place for all of us. If elected state representative, I’ll be proud to support it.