Aurora theater shooting: Colorado members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns respond to tragedy
The heated gun control debates that have emerged in response to the Aurora theater shooting that left twelve dead have reached elected officials at all different levels of government -- whether they want to talk about it or not. Since Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, arguably the most prominent Colorado member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, declined to weigh in on gun control, we asked other local mayors for their take on the state's regulation of guns after the Century 16 massacre.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- a bipartisan group with more than 600 members across the country -- has been one of the most high-profile politicians to speak out about gun control, starting just hours after James Holmes fired shots in the Aurora movie theater.
It's perhaps a bit easier for Bloomberg to talk policy from the other side of the country than someone local, such as Representative Ed Perlmutter, who quickly voiced his support for the assault weapons ban, but also admitted that it's difficult to discuss laws, no matter how relevant, when the pain of the tragedy is still so fresh.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently launched "Demand A Plan to End Gun Violence" petition.
Boulder Mayor and coalition member Matt Appelbaum echoes these sentiments. "When tragedies like this happen, it's not clear to me that it's the time to really be talking about gun control," he says -- not because those conversations are unimportant, but due to the difficulty of drawing meaningful connections between a single event and large-scale policy arguments.
"If you're going to talk about gun control, it shouldn't be in the context of one incident," he says, adding that people have to remember that gun violence happens every single day across the country without getting any press.
The coalition reports that there are over 30,000 gun deaths in America each year, nearly 12,000 of which are homicides.
"Should we do a better job keeping guns out of the hands of people that cause problems? Absolutely we should," Applebaum says. "Would it have stopped this one incident? Probably not, but that's not the point."
It's obvious the country should talk about the very powerful assault weapons Holmes used in Aurora, he adds.
"It is necessary for us to try and have a rational debate, if that's even possible in this country," says Appelbaum. "But it needs to be in a much broader context."
Page down to read comments from more Colorado mayors.