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.”
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.