This July 2012 evidence photo, which the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office released in response to open-records requests, shows the Colorado movie theater with bullet holes following the July 20, attack by James Holmes in Aurora, Colo. In August 2015, Holmes was sentenced to life in prison because jurors could not agree that he deserved the death penalty. (Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office via AP)

Eleven years after James Holmes opened fire inside an Aurora movie theater — changing everything in Aurora — the only change outside of the city is a stunning and disheartening increase in mass shootings.

The nation’s gun-death crisis is undeniable. As of July 18, there have been 392 mass shootings in the United States, defined as a single shooting killing or injuring four or more people. Almost 11, 000 Americans have been murdered so far this year by gunfire. Gunfire deaths is the leading cause of death among American children. Those numbers from the Gun Violence Archive, providing consistent and verifiable statistics.

It isn’t that the United States is incapable of ending not just rampant mass murders. We have refused to limit the power and abundance of American firearms. We permit virtually anyone older than 18, not yet old enough to drink beer, to obtain weapons designed for use in war or policing, engineered to efficiently and rapidly kill other human beings.

Colorado, long a leader in gun-control, has stepped up again this year to strengthen its so-called Red Flag Law and raise the minimum age of gun purchases to 21.

This year, finally, state lawmakers made it easier to bring lawsuits against the makers of guns the same way states can sue cigarette makers and prescription drug makers for their greedy incompetence. Critics of the measure say such laws unfairly target the makers of “innocuous” substances that only harm people when abused. The “guns-don’t-kill-people-do” bumper sticker mentality is what’s driven the nation to ghastly levels of gun violence. People with guns murder and wound other people with or without guns thousands upon thousands of times each year. 

Gun-rights extremist groups continue to fight these state laws and reforms. 

Congress and state governments have even refused to require gun owners to prove their ability to safely wield and store a weapon so deadly it can kill dozens or even hundreds of people in minutes, yet we require extensive licenses to drive a car and even cut hair.

We refuse to limit how many semi-automatic firearms a gunman can own, yet we limit cats to five per household.

Polling consistently shows that two-thirds of all Americans want stricter gun control laws, including meaningful universal background checks.

A stunning one-third of all Americans now believe all handguns should be banned, except for those used by police, more than one poll show, including polls maintained by Gallup.

More than 80% of gun owners believe all gun purchases in the United States should be subject to background checks, steady polling reveals. And almost 60% of Americans say the need for reducing gun violence by implementing gun controls outweighs the need to ensure gun rights.

With so much overwhelming need and desire to control guns and gun deaths, it’s appalling that 11 years have passed since the Aurora theater shooting and such little meaningful progress has been made.

Guns are an approximately $28 billion-a-year industry, several sources estimate. Gun-rights groups outspend gun-control groups 6 to 1 in lobbying members of Congress and state lawmakers, by as much as $16 million in 2021.

It’s not just money. Gun-rights play heavily into partisan primary races. For Republicans, that means that the most extreme voters often call the shots in primary races, ensuring gun-rights interests are backed by acquiescent winning candidates.

In efforts to stay elected in swing congressional and legislative districts, many Democrats shy away from gun-control issues just to keep their positions.

Despite the consistent and growing desire for gun control, elected leaders in Congress won’t deliver it, and voters won’t make them.

Eleven years have now gone by after the Aurora theater shooting and, soon, the Sandy Hook elementary school cataclysm. 

That has been long enough to prove, without a doubt, mass shootings and rampant gun violence will continue for the next decade, unless voters choose legislative and congressional candidates who will make gun control happen instead of rationalizing why it won’t.

Join the Conversation


  1. How predictable, you seem to have forgotten about the mass shootings in Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Serbia, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries. Most of Europe has extreme controls on firearms ownership and usage and they still happen. You don’t seem to be bothered by DA’s turning violent criminals loose literally the same day they’re arrested which happens constantly. Gun Control has never worked because you can’t legislate mental illness or criminality, good luck with that. You ought to read the final government report on the ten year assault weapons ban which says it was statistically irrelevant and had No effect instead of the lie from the Gifford’s that it greatly reduced gun violence. If you’re going to lie in your editorials, at least try to be clever about it!

    1. Add up all the ‘mass shootings’ that all those cited countries had and, the total would not come close to one year of what happens in America. Most of our homebred mass shooters had no criminal records, but most of them had extensive gun collections and incidents of violent mental illness events.

      The majority of gun murders are committed by people who know the victims – not criminals, but domestic partners, friends, spouses, and acquaintances. If the assault weapon ban had been continued, the weapon of choice, AR 15 rifles and their ilk, would not have been available to the murderers.

      There are no lies in the editorial and you should get your facts straight before parroting the gun manufacturers’ public relations arm, the NRa. Stop defending the indefensible.

    2. The mass shootings elsewhere are honestly beside the point–what’s really relevant here is the fact that a state that’s been largely run by Democrats the last 15 years keeps passing increasingly restrictive gun laws, each time promising “this will prevent this from happening again,” and when it happens again, says “we need more restrictive gun laws!”

      Like true marxism, True Gun Violence Prevention is always somewhere over the rainbow.

      1. And your solution is? BTW until our neighboring states deal with their gun issues, and people here stop getting their guns stolen from their cars or other places where they are improperly stored, we can only deal with firearms under our legal purview.

        1. What exactly do you think murderers are going out of state for that they can’t get in Colorado under our gun control laws. Serious question. These guns criminals are getting, they are getting illegally in transactions that are illegal in every state in the US. The guns that are purchased with the intent to sell to someone you know cannot pass a background check are illegal, in any state. Colorado’s lame universal background check law will never stop two criminals on the street exchanging guns and money. You can’t stop someone from breaking a law, and that’s a fact that Democrats will never come to terms with. For some reason, there is some strange belief that eventually we will hit a certain threshold of laws and people will finally stop breaking them. Absolutely bizarre logic. Obviously, we have universal background checks in Colorado so no one on the streets of Aurora or Denver are buying guns without going through the process! Problem solved. Seriously, this is the absolutely childish logic that drives gun control proponents. Anyone with common sense knows that law means absolutely nothing to someone willing to use a gun to murder someone, knowing they are more likely to get caught than not. You can’t stop someone with that mentality with an idiotic law like that.

          1. Stop allowing private gun sales without background checks.

            More to the point, statistically, you are more likely to be murdered by your own legal gun in your own home than you are to use that gun in defending said home. A gun in the home increases the likelihood that it will be used against a resident of that home.

            And take a look at Florida, where murder is essentially legal now.

            We are the sickest nation on Earth.

        2. The solution is to mitigate the social dysfunction caused by toxic left-liberal entitlement, special pleading, and circular reasoning. None of the other states are responsible for the Front Range’s unique culture of mass shootings, nor is it people “getting their guns stolen from cars or other places where they are improperly stored.”

          1. Then how do the guns used in crimes and general gun violence get into the wrong hands? It seems that you and the previous poster present a choice of either learning to live with the slaughter and blaming those with whose politics you disagree, or getting rid of guns completely.

            I’ll take the latter.

          2. “Then how do the guns used in crimes and general gun violence get into the wrong hands?”

            Because your fellow Democrats like guns.

            “It seems that you and the previous poster present a choice of either learning to live with the slaughter and blaming those with whose politics you disagree, or getting rid of guns completely.”

            It seems you love false dilemmas, but that’s par for their course with your side. That’s why you’re the enemy.

  2. And yet the gun “control” bills I’ve seen explicitly allow such dangerous things to organizations such as the Aurora PD and Denver PD with their record of killing civilians. Indeed, these two specific organizations have had a falling out just this week over liabilities incurred by incidents in this category.

  3. When Thinking about this issue I ask why now? What is different now than 30, 50, 100 years ago in our country. We as citizens have always had the right to own weapons since the founding, and despite popular belief including Cannons and other weapons of war I mean its kind of the point of the second amendment. But what is different now than in say the 70’s or 80’s, hand held weapons have not changed that much and the level of access has not changed. So what has changed? Why are there more mass shootings now. Too me there are several factors but the two big ones are. Inner city gang violence and the tolerance that these cities seem to have allowing these gangs to exist is problematic. Second I would say is multifaceted and complicated but boils down into the break down of the nuclear family (And in this I mean two parents in the same house with the same values raising their children. What ever the makeup of that family may be.) and community. I think if we as a society were to address these main two points, we would see a significant decreases in Mass incidents. I don’t think there is anything we can do that would eliminate them all being that too be free we must be willing to inherit risk. I would suggest that anyone looking to educate themselves on why a lot of these common sense gun laws would be ineffective at best and an infringement on low income individuals look up Colion Noir.

    1. The Second Amendment was not interpreted as granting an individual right to gun ownership until Antonin Scalia invented one in the Heller decision.

      I grew up in New England in the 50s and 60s. No one on my street had guns in their homes. And for nearly a hundred years, the federal courts ruled there was no constitutional right to gun ownership under the Amendment. Federal court after federal court held the same.

      Interestingly, the Congress that created the Second Amendment discussed it at length. No one said it had anything to do with an individual right own a gun unrelated to militia service. And in fact, at that point, the militia was mostly obsolete.

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