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Aurora theater shooting: Colorado members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns respond to tragedy


Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan.jpeg
Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan
Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan, also a member of the mayors coalition, says that even though Colorado politicians are still processing this tragedy, it's an appropriate time to talk about gun control -- because the nation is paying attention.

"I know some have said that out of respect, we should not start to debate yet," Sloan acknowledges. "I think out of respect, we should start to debate this. Something positive should come from this terrible incident."

She adds, "I believe we should have been paying attention to this for a long time. We shouldn't have needed an incident like this."

Despite her stance, she says she is not critical of Governor John Hickenlooper who largely dodged questions of gun policy when asked about it in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

"The governor had just been visiting the families of the killed, dying and wounded, and I know he's a thoughtful person," Sloan says. "He will probably revisit this issue when he's not in the presence of horrendous actions...[of] a Colorado resident."

The mayors coalition has launched a petition targeting President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney; it demands that they offer concrete solutions to the gun problem that kills 34 people a day in the United States, according to the group's estimate. Since the killings in Aurora, conversations have emerged about assault weapons, access to ammunition online, mental health and background checks and many other facets of gun control.

Carolyn Cutler Mayor Lafayette.jpg
Carolyn Cutler, mayor of Lafayette
Coalition member Carolyn Cutler, the mayor of Lafayette, says the gun control debates need to be balanced, since it's important to consider both the guns and the people behind them. "What I'd like to see are sensible discussions," she says.

Cutler echoes the frustration of others that gun control is only debated after a high-profile case like this shooting.

"I am terribly sad that Aurora happened and now we're having this discussion again, because it seems like that discussion only comes to the national forefront, the state forefront and the local forefront when there is a tragic accident," she says.

From a policy perspective, she believes local governments should have the ability to enact stricter gun laws.

And in the wake of a tragedy, she says, it makes sense to look at policies across a broad spectrum that could stop something like this from happening in the future.

"Anything that could've prevented this is fair to be on the table," she says.

Like others who have called for gun control, Cutler says it seems obvious that something should be done to better regulate the kinds of powerful weapons Holmes used.

"I personally have an issue with guns that can shoot...a number of rounds in a short time," she says. "I don't understand who in the general public needs those."

More from our Politics archive: Harold & Kumar, Grey's Anatomy stars visiting Denver for Obama 2012

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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10 comments
Monkey
Monkey

The Second Amendment protects all guns from being banned for the same reason the First Amendment protects all religions from being banned. It’s like saying that the freedom of religion means you can have most religions, but not Islam.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Monkey  

 

Wow, you can't even construct a cogent metaphor that isn't instantly falsified by REALITY and FACTS -- do you even parse what you type for consistency before you publish it?

 

-- Even the NRA agrees that Guns can be banned, and that millions of people can be banned from possessing guns.

 

-- Did the Founding Fathers extend the "right to bear arms" to their own Negro slaves?

 

-- Does "Freedom of Religion" mean that Mormons can practice Polygamy and forced Child Marriage?

 

-- Does "freedom of religion" mean that babies and children can be made to suffer genital mutilation ? [ trick question -- Yes for Boys, No for Girls ... go figure.]

 

 

 

IZen
IZen

@Monkey

The first amendment comparison is not relevant because of the differences in the way they are worded.

---------------------------------------------------------------

First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Second Amendment:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

The word infringed is the where interpretations can vary.

 

The definition of infringe is: To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate

 

Most constitutional scholars interpret this to mean that the government cannot ban all guns, but can place limits on the types.

 

It's kind of irrelevant because the current geopolitical environment we live in makes militias no longer likely or even capable of affecting the security of a free state.

IZen
IZen

 @Monkey So you believe the first amendment gives you the right to own fully automatic rifles.  the currently ban on them has been upheld by the courts as constitutional.   I don't think the constitution specifies "small arms" so I guess it guarantees your right to own military grade cannons and mortars too.

 

The only type of gun that existed when the second amendment was adopted, in 1791, was barrel loaded black powder guns capable of firing a maximum of about 4 shots per minute.  Quite a different animal than today's modern weapons.

 

Monkey
Monkey

 @IZenI fear the government disarming the citizens more than citizens legally owning the same weapons military and police carry. The Nazis disarmed the Jews, do you think that was to protect them? The crime data in Jamaica shows the same thing as the crime data in Chicago. It is the law-abiding, good citizens, not the criminals, who are disarmed by gun bans. A semi-auto rifle is not an assault rifle unless someone uses it in an assault, some are just for fun, we don't need them, we like shooting them, and the people who are buying them up like you're going to ban them wont let you or the government take them because they look scary to you.

IZen
IZen

 @Monkey P.S. It's nice to have a rational discussion on the subject and I did not intend that to be taken as a personally statement on you in particular.  I meant the metaphorical 'you' but I realize it could be taken the other way.

IZen
IZen

 @Monkey Anyone who takes up arms against the US government today would be immediately be labeled a terrorist and persecuted as such so the militia/civilian revolt argument is hard to buy.  Jefferson also lived in a different time.

 

It's also hard to believe that limiting the size ammo clip you can buy or closing gun show loopholes would do that much to limit your enjoyment of target shooting unless it's just that macho surge of adrenaline from spraying massive amounts of bullets you are looking for.

Monkey
Monkey

 @IZenThe Second Amendment wasn't written for current weaponry, they did realize we would surpass the musket. It was written so that the people, or the militia, would never have the right to individually keep and bear military guns taken away from them. That was the whole point of the amendment. A supposed tyrannical government would have the latest and greatest arms, and so should the people's militia. "The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- (Thomas Jefferson)

For me personally, I just like shooting them, and I dis-like limiting personal freedoms.

IZen
IZen

 @Monkey P.S. The Fox News story you are attempting to quote statistics from had nothing to do with assault rifle bans or US law. 

 

Jamaica banned all guns but they are easily smuggled in from the US in exchange for drugs smuggled out to the US. 

 

I personally am not taking any stand on the effectiveness of gun bans in this discussion, just questioning your assertion that they are all unconstitutional.

IZen
IZen

 @Monkey Other than your fears, what does that have to any of my statements on the constitutionality of gun laws???

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