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Colorado: What They're Saying About New Laws Signed to Improve Public Safety

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DENVER- Today, Governor Polis joined bill sponsors, advocates, and community leaders to sign new laws to improve public safety by cracking down on dangerous ghost guns and auto theft in Colorado and improving victim notification. Governor Polis is committed to making Colorado one of the ten safest states in the nation and, in partnership with the legislature, is continuing to take action to achieve this goal and reduce crime.

Here is what public safety leaders and advocates are saying about recent actions taken to improve public safety:

"Thanks to the Governor's commitment to public safety, significant bipartisan bills were passed, including equity for victims of motor vehicle theft and addressing the risks associated with ghost guns. I was proud to advocate for both of these important pieces of legislation," said Judicial District 1 District Attorney, Alexis King.

"Colorado continues to be a model for the important influence of grassroots organizing in our democracy," said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. "Our volunteers and survivors of gun violence have been relentless in their advocacy in Colorado over the past decade, resulting in substantial progress on gun safety. This year has been no different. They have shown up and testified at hearings and sent thousands of calls and emails to lawmakers. Students have marched out of school and returned to the statehouse day after day to demand a better, safer future than their current reality – fearing for their lives in places where they should be focused on learning. And in response to their advocacy, Colorado lawmakers continue to listen and take action on our gun violence crisis. We thank Governor Polis and the gun sense champions in the Colorado statehouse for responding to our calls for change by passing strong gun safety laws that will save the lives of countless Coloradans."

"The bills passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Polis this session focusing on the safety of the people of Colorado, is a testament to the Governor's commitment to making communities throughout Colorado safer. Thanks to the Governor's leadership, our state is now better positioned to achieve his stated goal of making Colorado one of the safest states in our Nation," said Art Acevedo, Aurora Chief of Police.

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"Governor Polis understands that for the state to thrive, Coloradans must feel safe. He has proven that he is a public safety leader by signing the package of gun bills into law, the auto-theft prevention bill and the bill that strengthens penalties for indecent exposure to minors.  Governor Polis also understands that one of the best ways to prevent crime is to support mental health treatment and addiction services as those issues are often the underlying drivers of criminal activity," said Denver District Attorney, Beth McCann.

"Families across Colorado – like my own – are all too familiar with the devastation of gun violence," said Connie Grieshaber, fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network and volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. Connie's father, Edward Flynn, took his life with a gun on August 2, 1976. "Ghost guns, the weapon of choice of many criminals, are a substantial contributor to the gun violence epidemic, and today's action will save the lives of other mothers' children. We thank Governor Polis for taking gun violence seriously, and for his fierce stance on National Gun Violence Awareness Day."

"The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police are committed to working with Governor Polis and our Elected Representatives to help Colorado continue to be a safe place to live, work and play.  We are thankful for the Governor's leadership in signing these bills," said Dave Hayes, Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police President.

"Governor Jared Polis has demonstrated commendable leadership in prioritizing public safety during his tenure. His commitment to the well-being of Colorado residents has been evident through various initiatives and policies aimed at ensuring the safety and security of the community.One notable aspect of Governor Polis' approach to public safety is his emphasis on proactive measures. He has shown a willingness to invest in prevention programs and early intervention strategies to address the root causes of crime and mitigate potential risks. By focusing on prevention rather than solely reacting to incidents, he has shown a forward-thinking approach that can lead to long-term improvements in public safety. Furthermore, Governor Polis has been a vocal advocate for sensible gun control measures. His efforts to enact laws that enhance background checks and restrict access to firearms for individuals with a history of violence or mental illness are crucial steps toward reducing gun violence and enhancing public safety. These measures demonstrate his commitment to striking a balance between protecting individual rights and ensuring the safety of the broader community. Governor Polis has also been responsive to the evolving challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. He has supported initiatives that promote community policing, foster trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and enhance officer training in areas such as crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques. These efforts contribute to building stronger and more effective law enforcement agencies that can better serve and protect the public. Overall, Governor Jared Polis has exhibited strong leadership on public safety by adopting a comprehensive and proactive approach. His commitment to prevention, sensible gun control measures, and supporting law enforcement reforms has made a positive impact on the safety and well-being of Colorado residents" Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons, Summit County.

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"Every state in the union has something to learn from Colorado, which has consistently responded to horrific mass shootings with lifesaving laws, not just empty rhetoric," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety."This slate of lifesaving bills will go a long way toward keeping guns out of dangerous hands, which is key to preventing gun violence."

"This year, Governor Polis has signed several anti-gun violence bills into law. His leadership will bolster the safety of Colorado's communities and these new actions will extend beyond the state's borders to protect the surrounding region from the scourge of gun violence. Brady applauds Governor Polis for his fierce commitment to ending this deadly epidemic," said Kris Brown, President of Brady.

"As residents feel safe, communities become stronger, cohesive and more resilient," stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "The governor's 'Public Safety Plan of Action' is a catalyst for change and collaboration that will not only reduce and prevent injury and crime in Colorado but allow our residents to live, work and enjoy recreation more fully due to the predictability of a safer daily life."

"Real action is required if Colorado is to become one of the top ten safest states.  Thanks to the Governor's leadership, we have strengthened the laws regarding auto theft, gun violence, indecent exposure in front of kids, and more. These improvements will allow District Attorneys and law enforcement to better address crime in our communities.  In addition, Governor Polis has prioritized increasing resources for substance abuse and mental health disorders. It is a long overdue and critical piece of improving community safety and wellbeing," said Michael Dougherty, Boulder County District Attorney.

"I'm grateful to Governor Polis for signing legislation to make all motor vehicle thefts a felony,  to increase the number of juvenile detention beds, and to prohibit unserialized firearms or ghost guns.  Together, these changes will have a positive impact in reducing crime across our state,"  said Aurora Mayor, Mike Coffman.

"The Governor made a commitment to having Colorado be one of the top ten safest states in our nation. The pieces of legislation he put forward and is signing into law at the end of the 2023 session has given law enforcement the tools to make that a reality," said Arapahoe County Sheriff, Tyler Brown.

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