DENVER — Relatives of those killed at Columbine High School 15 years ago and inside the Aurora Century 16 Cinemas this summer joined three state lawmakers in an emotional plea Friday for new gun control legislation at the state level.
“There needs to be something done to stop the assault weapons and the mentally ill from owning guns,” said Theresa Hoover, the mother of A.J. Boik, who was shot and killed inside the movie theater this summer along with 11 others.
The three Democratic lawmakers leading Friday’s press conference, which took place just as the National Rifle Association finished its controversial press conference in Washington where the group called for more guns and armed patrols at every American school, promised that something will be done in the upcoming session.
Come January, when the 69th General Assembly begins its work at the Capitol, both the state House and Senate will be controlled by Democratic majorities, doing their work one floor above a Democratic governor who, just days before the Newton, Conn. shooting, told the Associated Press that “the time is right” to talk about new gun control measures.
“I want the families to know that I feel your pain, and I also have your back,” said Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora. “I’m going to be moving beyond a moment of silence into taking a plan of action.”
Fields, whose son was shot and killed by a gang member in 2005, was joined by Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, and Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora.
“I think that there are so many common sense things that we can do,” Carroll said. “There are going to be plenty of ways that we can fully respect people’s rights but just be smarter.”
Lawmakers have discussed a possible statewide ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, but no legislation has been introduced yet.
“We’ve got assault weapons out there that can take hundred of lives at one time and yet we are not controlling how they get into the hands of dangerous individuals,” said Bill Hoover, Boik’s grandfather.
“Let’s get some sense back in this society we’re insane the whole society has gone completely bonkers.”