Bill to Strengthen Crime Victim Support and Behavioral Health Programs Passes

New funds would go to crime victim grant programs, public safety grants and behavioral health services

DENVER, CO – The House of Representatives today passed legislation, sponsored by Majority Leader Monica Duran and Representative Meg Froelich, to refer to the ballot a measure that would require Colorado Crime Victims Services, the School Security Disbursement Program, and Crime Response System Services would fund behavioral health crises by imposing an excise tax on the firearms industry. HB24-1349 passed on a 44-18 vote.

“When I was a young single mother, victim services played an important role in navigating the legal system so that I could safely escape my abuser,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “With funding for victim services significantly reduced in the coming years, Colorado’s victims will lose access to vital resources that will help them stay safe and healthy. Our legislation would allow Colorado voters to decide whether we should implement a firearms tax so we can continue to fund victim services. Without these services, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and by implementing these taxes we can ensure other survivors have the resources they need to get their lives back on track.”

“Survivors of domestic violence face the challenges of navigating the legal system to seek justice, begin the healing process, and obtain safe housing and financial security,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “Unfortunately, safety net services for survivors are desperately underfunded and are facing drastic cuts in federal funding. Firearms play a major role in these crimes. That’s why we’re giving Colorado voters the opportunity to implement a small tax on firearm purchases that will boost funding for life-saving victim services.”

If approved by voters in the November 2024 election, HB24-1349 would introduce a new excise tax on arms dealers, arms manufacturers and ammunition sellers from April 1, 2025. As amended, this bill would raise approximately $54 million annually. If approved by Colorado voters, the funds would be allocated in the following manner:

  • $35 million to the Colorado Crime Victims Services fund for crime victims grants,

  • $10 million to the School Security Disbursement Program cash fund for grant programs such as School Access for Emergency Response Grant Program, School Security Disbursement Grant Program and Youth Violence Prevention Grant Program,

  • $5 million to the Behavioral Health Administration to provide crisis resolution services to youth experiencing a behavioral health crisis,

  • $5 million for mental health care for veterans, and

  • Any remaining funds will go to the Crime Victim Services fund for additional grants to support crime victims and survivors.

Small businesses with less than $20,000 in annual retail sales and retail sales to peace officers, law enforcement, and active duty military members are exempt from this bill.