Leader of Colorado’s new Office of Gun Violence Prevention steps down

Lacretia Wimbley/CPR News
Jonathan McMillan, founder of nonprofit consulting company Be Better Than Average, speaks Wednesday afternoon, June 29, 2022, during a breakout session at the Active Collective Trauma Community Summit in Aurora.

In 2022, Jonathan McMillan became the first director of Colorado’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention, tasked with leading a new effort to research and reduce gun violence.

On Wednesday, he announced that he was leaving the role, though he didn’t explain why or what he would do next.

“After a lot of thoughtful consideration, I’ve made the tough decision to step down as the director of the Colorado Office of Gun Violence Prevention,” McMillan wrote in an email newsletter. “While difficult, this decision marks the beginning of a new chapter for both myself and the ongoing mission of preventing firearm-related harm.”

In the newsletter, McMillan said the office, in collaboration with others, had “not only highlighted the issue but also illuminated paths towards meaningful change.”

Founded almost two years ago, the office has only recently begun its public-facing work. In 2023, it hosted a two-day meeting and a listening tour in several counties. The office also distributed about $550,000 in grant funding that year, and recently launched a campaign called Let’s Talk Guns Colorado, including videos promoting Extreme Risk Protection Orders. It also created a “resource bank” with short pages on topics like secure firearm storage.

McMillan didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and email requesting comment.

“As I pass the baton, I am confident in the continued work of this office. The path forward is clear – we must persist in our efforts to engage all stakeholders, strengthen communities, and support informed policymaking,” he wrote.

McMillan also is a business consultant and personal coach. He previously was director of youth violence prevention for Denver.

The Office of Gun Violence Prevention was created by Democrats in a 2021 bill.

“I’m appreciative of what he did getting the office going, and I’m looking forward to the conversation of who the replacement's going to be, because we can’t wait," said Sen. Tom Sullivan, a sponsor of the law that created the new office, in an interview.

“We thank Mr. McMillan for his service and congratulate him on his next chapter,” wrote a spokesperson for Gov. Jared Polis in an email.

Editor’s note: This article was updated Feb. 21, 2024 with comment from the governor’s office.