BOULDER, Colo. — A Boulder woman is making a statement along Highway 34 in Greeley.
Lindasue Smollen thinks Colorado can do more to help put an end to gun violence.
“Columbine happened 20 years ago and nothing has changed,” Smollen told FOX31.
That’s why she bought billboard advertising throughout Weld County earlier this month.
All six of the billboards read:
“More Americans have died of gun violence since 1970, including murders, suicides and accidents (1.4 million) than in all the wars in American history (1.3 million). Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
They reference a statistic from a New York Times article, later verified by PunditFact.
According to data from Lamar (the company that owns the billboards), all six billboards — collectively — are making more than 200,000 “weekly impressions.”
In 2018, Smollen paid for a billboard with mass shooting statistics on Highway 93.
But Smollen insists the billboards are not a political statement.
“This has nothing to do with right wing, left wing, Democrats, Republicans,” she said. “Our elected officials have failed us, and that’s across the board.”
Smollen honed in on the area, in part, because of county commissioners’ decision to make Weld County a Second Amendment sanctuary county.
“I saw it this morning through the Facebook feed and it’s kind of what I would expect,” said Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams when asked if he had seen the billboards.
Reams admits he’s been outspoken about his refusal to enforce the “red flag” gun law, which goes into effect in 2020.
“When I started speaking out against the bill, it was in hopes that we could modify the bill or change the bill,” he said.
However, the bill did not change as Reams had hoped. And, despite the billboards, neither has Reams’ stance on it.
“I would rather risk the punishment of violating a court order that comes out of this ‘red flag’ law and potentially end up in my own jail before I would want to go down the path of violating someone’s constitutional rights,” he said.
The billboards will stay up until at least early May.
Smollen has started a GoFundMe account and hopes to keep the billboards up even longer, depending on how much funding she receives.