Senate gun control hearings attract huge crowds at Capitol

DENVER — It was hard to miss all of the cars honking their horns outside of the Capitol Monday.

People were protesting the gun control bills being heard inside.

Overhead, a plane circled the building pulling a banner that read “Hick: Do not take our guns.” ‘Hick’ referred to Gov. John Hickenlooper.

There were long lines to get into the building, and the crowds inside were impressive. The hearing rooms early in the day were packed to capacity. There were no more lines to get in by 9 p.m., but the hearing room was still packed.

Gene Fairchild drove all the way from Woodland Park and, like many people, he was not able to get in. “It almost seemed like an impossible mission,” Fairchild said.

Crowds moved to overflow rooms or listened in the hall on loudspeakers. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” one woman said.

Bill supporters gathered with families affected by gun violence at a news conference.

The family of AJ Boik was there. He’s one of the 12 people shot and killed at the Aurora movie theater in July. “It happened at Columbine, and it happened again in Aurora, and it’s time for us to do something,” said Dave Hoover, AJ’s uncle.

But opposition to the bill was fierce. “One by one we are going to start losing more of our freedoms,” said Barry Schafer.