DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is getting $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund efforts combatting gun violence.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado:

“The Justice Department announced 49 awards to states, territories and the District of Columbia as part of the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program. The total investment of more than $231 million will fund state crisis intervention court proceedings, including but not limited to, extreme risk protection order (ERPO) programs that work to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others.”

The FOX31 Problem Solvers dug into the latest data available, showing Colorado had nearly three times as many firearm-related violent crimes in 2022 as in 2008, more gun-related crimes than any year on record.

“I am astonished at the number of illegal guns in Colorado and at the level of gun violence,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Cole Finegan said.

Finegan sat down with FOX31 Thursday to talk about potential steps for turning gun violence around with these new funds.

“I think these dollars, by coming into the state system, hopefully, this will provide additional training so that local law enforcement can be more effective in going after gun violence,” Finegan said, adding, “We hope that works hand in hand with our program to provide even more prosecutors in federal court who can prosecute gun violence.”

On a federal level, Finegan and his team of 45 prosecutors have the ability to go after felons in possession of weapons.

“If they’re caught with a gun that we can arrest them, we can charge them and we can put them in prison,” Finegan said.

Last April, a federal judge sentenced a Denver man to 20 years in federal prison for carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon.