10 YEARS: Survivors, lawmakers applaud legislative progress made in gun laws since Aurora theater shooting

Congressman Jason Crow addresses questions from reporters during a news conference a day shy of the 10th anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting. (Screenshot via Zoom)

AURORA | A day short of the 10-year anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting, lawmakers, activists and survivors of the 2012 attack say even incremental change in gun control legislation is progress worth recognizing. 

“It’s really important to celebrate the little wins, because we haven’t been able to pass any legislation for gun reform in a long time. So just passing that it gives us hope that there will be more,” said Jenalise Long, a survivor of the theater shooting, during a news conference with Congressman Jason Crow on Tuesday.

Long was stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in July 2012 when she attended the midnight premier of “Dark Knight Rising.”

Lawmakers have specifically pointed to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed into law earlier this month. The package of legislation offers $750 million for states to create “red flag” laws, enhances background checks for people younger than 21 purchasing guns, closes the “boyfriend loophole” and creates a federal offense for straw purchasing. 

In voting for the legislation, Crow said in a speech on the House floor that the legislation’s “success belongs to every Coloradan who turned their hurt into action. This long-overdue progress is theirs.”

Still, activists and some Democrats have grown more frustrated with their own party about what lawmakers have accomplished in terms of gun legislation, even when they hold the majority. 

Rep. Tom Sullivan addresses the media during the signing ceremony of the “red flag bill”, April 12, 2019 in the governors office.
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado

In Colorado, state Rep. Tom Sullivan, a parent of a victim of the theater shooting and a Centennial Democrat who was elected in 2018, said his campaign for office would likely not have been possible a decade ago. 

“One of the Congressmen Crow’s colleagues, Lucy McBath of Georgia, got elected by people voting for her because she stands up for gun violence prevention after her son Jordan was murdered for playing his music too loud outside of a convenience store,” Sullivan said. “So your votes are working. Continue to vote and let your representatives know what you want them to do by calling them emailing them texting them, whatever it takes.”

Sullivan said he plans to introduce a bill next year that would raise the age to purchase an assault-style weapon from 18-years-old to 21-years-old. 

The legislation was floated by Democrats early this year, but it was never introduced. 

“I would suggest anybody who’s hearing this to call your governor right now and let him know that when Senator Sullivan brings this forward next year, that he should get behind it, and vote with it,” he said.









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4 months ago

The biggest catalyst encouraging mass shootings? Sensationalization and news coverage. Also it turns out, when parents don’t parent and instill values in their children, we all pay the price.

4 months ago
Reply to  Don

How about the 140 deaths and 3x that many maimings from gun violence – every day. Is that epidemic because of media coverage? Every day shootings hardly even get coverage, but the survivors, and the friends and family of the victims are left to deal with it…forever. This includes good parents, church goers, food shoppers, concert goers, movie theater patrons, school children, in fact just ordinary people.

Gun violence affects us all, if not personally, then by exploding health care and insurance costs, of which billions go to caring for gun violence victims. Or by the fear of gun violence in our communities.

Maybe if the victims of everyday of gun violence got front page coverage, with pictures of their wounds, greater awareness and action to stop this plague would happen, and we would all be able to stop paying the price.

Prayers and thoughts are not enough. Get involved.