Students and parents from schools across Colorado take part in a rally, Friday, March 24, 2023, outside the State Capitol in Denver, calling for state lawmakers to consider gun control measures during the current legislative session. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

One evening last month, I returned home after a long day of lawmaking at the State Capitol to find one of my front windows shattered. A stray bullet from a drive-by shooting had gone through my window, hit a china cabinet in my living room, and damaged the wall behind it.

As you can imagine, I was shaken. As a mother of a son lost to gun violence, those same  emotions, the same fear, was immediately brought back to the surface. It’s a difficult thing to feel unsafe sitting in your living room, wondering if tonight might be the night that you will be in the exact wrong place at the wrong time. Wondering whether that stray bullet might make contact with something other than a china cabinet.

I know that many others in my community feel similarly. In recent months, Aurora has been rocked by a frightening increase in gun violence incidents. Our nightly news is a near constant stream of addresses where a shooting took place, a daily recap of violence inflicted in our neighborhoods.

Just recently, Denver East High School suffered its second shooting in only six weeks. Last month, Luis Garcia was shot and killed in his car just outside of the school. Now, two faculty members have been hospitalized after a student at the school shot them. Enough is enough.  Our children and teens deserve to feel safe in their communities and classrooms.

I am tired of hearing these reports. I am tired of living in constant fear of gun violence, wondering if my friends, family or I might be the next victim. The epidemic of bullets in bodies must stop. I will continue to stand up to interrupt gun violence in our community and state.

Since being elected to serve in the Colorado General Assembly in 2011, I have dedicated myself to working on policies to build safer communities for all. Following the Aurora theater shooting, I sponsored a bill to ban high-capacity magazines, and just two years ago, after the Boulder King Soopers shooting, I worked to establish the Office of Gun Violence Prevention in Colorado. These are just a few of the many steps we have taken to reduce gun violence in our state, but there is so much more we can do.

This year, I am working with my colleagues in the State Senate on a package of bills that will help reduce gun violence of all kinds. We are fighting to pass laws that will raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm, implement a three day waiting period for firearm purchases, and expand and improve Colorado’s ‘Red Flag’ law which allows individuals to file extreme risk protection orders to temporarily remove guns from a person at danger to themselves or others. Additionally, we are working on a bill to hold gun manufacturers accountable for their actions so the same mistakes don’t continue to be made over and over again.

I’ve also introduced legislation that would ban the purchase of assault weapons in Colorado and make it harder for weapons of war to wind up on our streets.

As a state, we must take seriously the threat of gun violence all across Colorado. But, we also have to think locally about solutions that are specific and unique to our own communities.

That’s why I also hope to work alongside the Aurora City Council and community advocates on more localized efforts to reduce gun violence such as gunfire detection technology or license plate readers, so we can better track incidences of gun violence and understand the root of the problem.

I believe that every Auroran and every Coloradan deserves to feel safe and secure in their community, whether they’re at home, at school, or at the grocery store. I don’t want anyone to have to live in fear that their house might be in the way of a stray bullet like mine was.

There is no single solution that is going to eliminate gun violence. It’s going to take all of us working together at every level to make real progress on this issue. I’m committed to doing the work to reduce gun violence and build a safer Aurora, and I hope you are too. Together, there is much more work for us to do.

— State Sen. Rhonda Fields is a Democrat and represents central Aurora

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  1. If I read this correctly, despite an overwhelming majority of democrats in the Colorado House and Senate, you’ve managed to push through two things: another ineffectual government office and a high-capacity magazine ban that has done nothing to decrease violence but did inspire at least one major manufacturer to leave the state.

    It does appear that you’ll be successful in your latest three pieces of political theater, um, bills. How will you explain when these also do nothing? When will you stop blaming a weapon and start focusing on where the real problem lies… in a parenting crisis, a criminal apologist mindset, and a culture of violence that has far too many young black men killing black victims.

    1. Other comparable societies have the same or similar issues, but dramatically lower gun deaths and injuries. The difference? The worship of guns and the grotesque oversupply of weapons in America. Fewer guns = fewer deaths.

  2. For someone who has damaged law enforcement in Colorado to the degree that she has, I find her comments disingenuous. She, Leslie Herrod, and the rest of the legislature won’t discuss their vague and punitive police reform bill that was done in a knee jerk response to George Floyd. Thousands of officers have left and more will leave. They were not just a bunch of bullies and whiners who wanted to violate people’s rights. Rhonda Fields put all of us in a more dangerous world out of her arrogance and ignorance about a subject she knew little about.

  3. Unfortunately, she is not committed to creating a safer Aurora. She, Leslie Herrod and the rest of the legislature passed a knee jerk police reform bill right after George Floyd that drove thousands of good police officers out of law enforcement in Colorado. They were not all brutal, racist whiners who just wanted to keep violating people’s rights. The police reform bill (SB 217), passed with virtually no input from law enforcement, created vague use of force guidelines that no one can explain. At the same time. it came up with lots of punishments for officers who violated the vague guidelines. Many routine police functions are now questionable under the vague guidelines. Legal advisors are telling officers that they don’t know what the guidelines mean other than that the legislature does not want officers to touch anyone. Police supervisors are telling officers not to stop anyone and to let thieves go if they resist arrest in any way. Politically correct prosecutors are charging officers for even minor contact with suspect’s necks during struggles. More officers are going to leave and the legislature won’t explain their law or even look back. Meanwhile, they keep bragging about their commitment to making safer communities. And, gee, they cannot understand why we can’t find people who want to be officers. But, gee, they are willing to lower standards for officers because they don’t understand why people don’t want the job. Rhonda Fields has done irreparable harm with her arrogance and uninformed actions. But, like all politicians, she can just go on without answering for her poor judgment.

    1. Then those supervisors should join the whiners and the bullies with badges who have already left or been fired. The reforms were passed because the APD showed no ability of straightening itself out. Please get off this soapbox. I know it’s hard because so much of what was wrong inside APD is part of your legacy, but time to move on.

  4. Why does Sen Fields deserve armed protection; why do you, at your place of business, deserve armed protection, but our children don’t?

  5. Without a word about the responsibilities of fathers and mothers and all four grandparents and the aunts and uncles…there is no hope of a reduction in gun violence…especially youth gun violence.

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