State lawmakers personally impacted by gun violence react to Aurora park shooting

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Monday’s shooting in Aurora leaving six high schoolers hurt has people in Colorado searching for solutions yet again.

While state lawmakers have passed laws in response to mass shootings before, some are wondering if they were enough. The drive-by shooting at Nome Park brought back a flood of emotions for Assistant Senate Majority Leader Rhonda Fields.

She lost her son to gun violence and she wants the community to step in to help end the violence.

“You never know when crime is going to show up on your doorstep. You just never know and what happens is, bad things happen to good people. Because it happened to me,” Fields said.

Fields said gun violence is always at the top of her mind.

“I’ve been scared because I lost my son and his fiancé because of gun violence. They were ambushed and murdered. It was a drive by,” Fields recalled.

Fields’ son Javad and his fiance were murdered just days away from his date to serve as a witness to a shooting at another park in Aurora. For Fields, Monday’s news in the district she represents brought back trauma.

“The shooting, as it relates to my son and what happened, is really vivid in my mind. But there’s probably others that I’m not aware of, but we have to address the gun problem,” Fields said.

She ran for office after her son’s death, using her seat to speak out about gun safety in Colorado. However, Fields says she is not sure if the state could’ve helped prevent this shooting.

“I think the State of Colorado has been extremely responsible in addressing gun safety reform. But it’s going to take more than legislation. It’s going to have to take our pastors getting involved, it’s going to have to take our school administrators getting involved, and we need to kind of give kids and others the skills to address conflict without feeling like they need to pick up a gun,” Fields said.

Fields pointed to the work lawmakers did this past session after the King Soopers shooting. She believes the newly formed office of gun violence and prevention will be key once it really gets up and running.

Here in Colorado unfortunately, several state lawmakers have experienced gun violence in their personal lives. State Representative Tom Sullivan lost his son Alex in the Aurora theater shooting. Earlier this year when he brought up his son’s death and gun violence solutions, he was told to “let go” by a House colleague.

Sullivan will not be letting go. While he does not represent the area near Nome Park, he said Monday’s shooting in Aurora makes him wish his colleagues at local and federal level would take gun control more seriously.

“If you don’t care about the loss of life, then maybe we can get you to stand with us and help us with this because of the cost. As I say, yesterday’s incident is going to cost the City of Aurora in excess of two million dollars and that’s just going to get us through the next couple of months,” Sullivan said.

He said that calculation is based off cost of getting each of those kids to the hospital, the costs of cleanup and investigation among others.

Congress’ Joint Economic Committee estimates the U.S. spends about $230 billion annually on mass shootings. Sullivan said he is not ready to announce any upcoming bills yet, but he is working on it.

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