Aurora theater shooting: Colorado members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns respond to tragedy
|Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan|
"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.
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.
Carolyn Cutler, mayor of Lafayette
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."
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