DENVER (KDVR) — Wednesday’s shooting at East High took place on the two-year anniversary of the King Soopers shooting that killed 10 people.
Lawmakers were getting ready to honor the Boulder King Soopers victims as the news of the shooting at East was unfolding. The shooting at East High also comes amid lawmakers working on gun violence solutions. Legislators said they want frustrated parents and students to know they hear them.
On the same day two people were shot at East High School, former Denver School Board member and current House Assistant Majority Leader Jennifer Bacon testified on a bill she is sponsoring in committee to expand who can petition for an extreme risk protection order.
“We are coming to you with this bill, and quite honestly others, because many of us know and believe and quite frankly feel so deeply personally and urgently that we have issues with gun violence,” Bacon said in her opening remarks Wednesday afternoon. “We’re seeing people attack grocery stores and churches and schools and neighborhoods where people are just walking home. And of all the questions that come up, one of them sticks out in regards to perhaps we might be able to find a solution. And that question is, did anybody know.”
While Bacon did not mention Wednesday’s shooting in her opening remarks, it was top of mind for the Senate sponsor of the same measure.
“Just today, the anniversary of the King Soopers shooting in Boulder, while we were presiding in the Senate essentially, we got news that there was another shooting at East High school here in Denver,” Senate President Steve Fenberg said.
In addition to this bill, Fenberg sponsored legislation clearing the way for municipalities to enact their own gun laws, something cities in Boulder decided to act on following the grocery store tragedy.
“Clearly, we have to do more. There’s no question,” Fenberg said. “I’m very proud of the work we are doing this year. I think when you approach a public health crisis, which I consider gun violence to be, it’s usually not going to be one policy. You can’t solve it overnight. It has to be policy on top of policy that together creates safer communities.”
Fenberg’s sentiments were echoed by Boulder Representative Judy Amabile who is sponsoring the measure that would introduce a three-day waiting period for gun purchases.
“There’s a little bit of a sense of hopelessness because these things aren’t going to be enough to stop this from happening,” Amabile said. “We as a community need to come together and say, ‘there’s got to be a better way for us to be resolving conflict. We have to do a better job of treating people who have mental health disorders, we have to do a better job of condemning violence in our culture but I am proud of the work we’ve done here.'”
More than halfway through this legislative session, lawmakers said they are examining if there is anything else they could do this session to address the violence.