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Michael Hancock: I wouldn't use Aurora shootings to push gun control

Mayor Hancock thumb.jpg
Michael Hancock
Since James Holmes purchased an AR-15 assault rifle and shot twelve people dead in an Aurora movie theater, we've asked different local officials if they think stricter gun control laws could help prevent this kind of tragedy in the future. Recently, Denver mayor Michael Hancock told us that he would not use the mass shooting to push gun policy changes.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Hancock declined to speak out on gun control, offering only a general statement via his spokeswoman. His statement included this: "It makes sense to turn to the weapons but we must not forget the man behind the gun."

Mayor Michael Hancock and Police Chief Robert White at Peace March.JPG
Sam Levin
Mayor Michael Hancock and Police Chief Robert White marching together on Saturday.
In the days following the tragedy that made national headlines, it was common for Colorado officials to avoid specific policy pushes before grieving families could bury their loved ones. But in the weeks since the Aurora shooting, Representatives Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette have both proposed policy changes, and a Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national coalition, has launched a television ad in Denver, calling on President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to offer a concrete solution to gun violence.

Hancock is part of that coalition -- but, in an interview over the weekend, he said he does not agree with that kind of policy push on the heels of the July 20 attack.

"You know, that tragedy in Aurora, I would not use -- and the reason why I did not speak out about it -- I wouldn't use it as a bully pulpit for political [reach]," Hancock said when asked if he supports the coalition's ad campaign. "That suspect obtained those weapons legally. I certainly will stand firm against illegal guns.... The reality is this: If we want to talk about how we avoid situations like Aurora, let's go to the heart of the problem and not the symptoms."

We spoke to the mayor at a Peace March on Saturday focused on gang violence. In a speech at the rally, he said the problems of violence in Denver go far beyond questions of gun control.

"Obviously, we don't want our young people to be carrying weapons. There's no excuse for them to be carrying weapons -- certainly, illegal gun possession," Hancock said. "You can tell from my message today that I really believe this is much bigger than just gun control.... This is about individuals who have low sense of worth and purpose, where they can engage in activity that's going to put them behind bars potentially for the rest of their lives or could end someone else's life indiscriminately. So I think it's much deeper. I think it's about families, it's about communities, it's about self-worth, and we've still got to stay aggressive on the issues of gun control."

About suspect James Holmes, Hancock said, "What you saw was the manifestation of some problems that went unaddressed.... We're seeing now, as the stories are becoming known, that people knew he had psychological...psychiatric problems, and quite frankly, they didn't respond appropriately and give him the help as well as to make sure...we prevented this kind of violence."

Page down to read more from our interview with Mayor Michael Hancock.


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71 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

In England in 2009 there were 0.073 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants.

 

In the United States it was 3.0, about 40 times higher.

 

40 TIMES HIGHER!

 

Source:  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Homicides by firearm statistics. Total 2009 firearms homicides for the England & Wales are given as 41, which equates to 0.073 per 100,000 of the 56 million inhabitants; this figure is rounded to one decimal place in the table, i.e. 0.1.

 

Behold American Gun MADNESS!

 

 

Daisy Rothschild
Daisy Rothschild

why not? didn't the possible threat of fire danger, even within city limits, inspire them to ban all fireworks and outdoor grilling this summer? my BBQ sauce is not that lethal...

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

lhon8,R,KAEHNLAUY WL;E Anmyf32 FNHJJSF7423NJQRYUAOH

I'm commenting in tongues...

Scarifying
Scarifying

I believe in gun control......two shots within 1/2" of each other, center mass, every time style gun control.

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

I disagree you still need a gun to kill!

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

I disagree you still need a gun to kill!

Aaron Betcher
Aaron Betcher

buy all the guns you want. just make sure they are registered and then control the ammo for those guns.

Aaron Betcher
Aaron Betcher

buy all the guns you want. just make sure they are registered and then control the ammo for those guns.

Dan Erickson
Dan Erickson

It is also pretty obvious to me which side of the political spectrum the pro-gun people are on in this discussion.

Dan Erickson
Dan Erickson

I'm sorry, but if the Aurora shootings aren't a reason for gun control I don't know what is. There is absolutely not reason in my mind for a non-military individual to have an AR-15 assault rifle, or any type of gun that can produce mass murder. Excuse me for being a pacifist, but it is time that people come into the 21st century, and realize that the 2nd amendment was written for people during the revolutionary war, when there wasn't other law enforcement around.....just my humble opinion.

Michael Smock
Michael Smock

The Aurora shootings shouldn't be used as justification for gun control. The wildfires shouldn't be used as justification for open burning bans. Infections shouldn't be used as a reason to produce antibiotics. Why should logic & reason be part of the discussion?

Jeff Ziesk
Jeff Ziesk

more than anything I am glad to see opinions similar to my own being posted on this. it's a touchy topic and I hate to see the short sided idea to prevail.

Jeff Ziesk
Jeff Ziesk

those who are willing to give up rights in order to gain protection deserve neither.

James Hendricks
James Hendricks

I guess we can bump the discussion ahead until the next massacre.

Jasun Thomas
Jasun Thomas

Anyone who thinks banning assault weapons, magazines or banning anything is a complete idiot. Guns have been around for hundreds of years, and will be for thousands more. Since we can not un-invent firearms then everyone alive should have the right to own a piece of equipment to protect themselves, equally against anyone else who WILL use these weapons for harm. Banning them will do no good because either the next criminal who will commit the crime already has one pre-ban or will buy one on the black market. Like it or not, guns are here to stay. Banned or not, guns are here to stay. So get educated on how they work, go get one and be ready if someone happens to attack you someday.

Caleb Mather
Caleb Mather

For those who don't seem to grasp the point...Denver already has an assault weapons ban. It does no good because a: there are already thousands of them in Denver that were purchased legally before the ban and b:criminals do not obey laws. All it does is allow you to prosecute someone further after they kill someone. If guns were to magically disappear from the country tomorrow stabbing deaths would increase 10 fold and then everybody would start crying about that. Murder is an un-solvable problem that will continue throughout time.

Pedro Martinez DePacas
Pedro Martinez DePacas

Nobody cares about a little gun violence every once and a while,as long as it happens far from "my" house. Take guns away from the police first.

Pedro Martinez DePacas
Pedro Martinez DePacas

Nobody cares about a little gun violence every once and a while,as long as it happens far from "my" house. Take guns away from the police first.

Dane Paul Terry
Dane Paul Terry

The amendments weren't 'created,' they were written on paper.

Dane Paul Terry
Dane Paul Terry

The 'din' of corruption? The 'populous'? Again with the 'can't spell in English' thing...

Ben Barr
Ben Barr

The second amendment wasn't created to ensure our right to hunt or protection from the common thief. How do you think Mao got away with murdering all those people?!

Charlie Solus
Charlie Solus

The thought of living in a world where the cops and the military were armed but not the populace scares me much more than the statistically remote possibility of some psycho opening fire in a crowded place.

Ben Barr
Ben Barr

Agreed! I for one don't want to be modeled after unGreat Britain, London being the din of corruption and greed for all banks of the world. God shit the Queen.

Mike Dowd
Mike Dowd

I disagree wholeheartedly. Semi automatic weapons should not be available to the public, period. That is what needs to change immediately. Pretty sure people can get by with their hunting and self protection without an AK-47. I would LOVE to hear an arguement as to why their is a need for these to be available to the general public.... Just a thought.... But who am I?

Lionel Washington
Lionel Washington

Other urban mayors around the country such as Villaragrosa in LA are supporting safer communities by banning assault weapons, saw off shotguns, and high capacity magazines. I care about the people of Colorado. We do a better job of protecting citizens when police officers are not out-gunned. Its the right thing to do!

Dane Paul Terry
Dane Paul Terry

Okay then, Mr. Mayor, what should the Aurora shootings be used to push? Laws against wearing costumes at midnight movies? Guns don't kill people, imaginary supervillains kill people.

Gabe-real Tee
Gabe-real Tee

No. Why do we avoid this conversation in the US? Just so we don't piss people off? It's beyond time people. Hancock is just being a passive doosh like most politicians.

Nick Runge
Nick Runge

Absolutely, I agree with that 100%.

Peace Will Win
Peace Will Win

like cell phones, people can't use them right, so I say we model countries like Great Britain, less guns=less gun deaths

Damian Alexander Burford
Damian Alexander Burford

It should be used to push better Mental Health care on those who need it, so they don't lose control and go on killing sprees. And I too am a Liberal Democrat.

Onus Spears
Onus Spears

I quit listening to him when he fucked over all the homeless people, fuck him!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Who would take Gun advice from a fool who believes in Biblical Creation and renounces Evolution?

Monkey
Monkey

"Denver passed an ordinance banning "all semiautomatic action"? That 2007 council representative is wrong. The magazines needing to be under 21 rounds is hilarious, I didn't know that one, I don't live in Denver, thankfully. What happens when the rest of Colorado drives through Denver with the appropriate AR-15, 30 round magazine? When the President mentioned citizens not needing military weapons, he was not referring to AR-15s, they are semi-auto replicas of military weapons, they look the same because they are replicas of full-auto M-4s and M-16s. There is no evidence gun bans reduce violence, but the most violent places in America, and around the world, have gun bans.

Monkey
Monkey

 @DonkeyHotay Yet 133% more assault victims, 125% more rape victims and 25% more total crime victims. They must still be pissed they can't have guns and take it out on each other. 

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

 @Scarifying 

I believe in 'Scarifying', control.....

I bet he sports 'one cool fuckin' mullet' !

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Monkey Rule #1 = Gun Loons ALWAYS Lie

 

-- An estimated 41% of gun-related homicides and 94% of gun-related suicides would NOT occur under the same circumstances had no guns been present .

 

http://www.desarme.org/publique/media/USgunsinhome.pdf

 

-- There are 5 TIMES as many deaths from gun assaults as from knife assaults, where the rates of assault with knives and with guns are similar.

 

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Sociology/SocialProblems/?view=usa&ci=9780195131055

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

 @Monkey 

The guns you so well defined have but one purpose,

and it doesn't include a set of antlers collecting snow

from the front of the truck,  returning East on I-70....

Dave
Dave

 @Monkey Can you link to some of those figures mentioned in your last sentence, Monkey?

PolitiComm
PolitiComm

 @Monkey "They must still be pissed they can't have guns and take it out on each other."

 

I thought you didn't make extravagant cause and effect claims.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@MonkeySo the question is the same as before --

 

Do you want to live in a society that has a higher crime rate but has fewer MURDERS, or do you want to live in a society that has a higher MURDER rate, but fewer crimes?

 

Take your time, it's an open book quiz.

 

Bonus question -- do you want the Red pill or the Blue pill?

 

Monkey
Monkey

 @Won_Leg I know the answer, fun, right? That's what I do with them, have fun shooting them. They are very versatile toys, you can hit a quarter at 25ft or 250yds. I prefer the old shotgun for self defense, and a larger caliber for hunting. AR-15s are more like Viet Nam memorabilia to me, a historical replica that citizens should never lose the right to own, just like a musket. I'm still pissed you have to give fingerprints and $200 to own real, full-auto military weapons, once freedom is taken away, it seldom is regained.

PolitiComm
PolitiComm

 @Dave I've been having this conversation all over Twitter with avid NRA supporters. They draw on two correlations for their false claim. Crime rates (pretty much around the world) continue to rise, albeit slowly. The example most cited is Australia where they instituted permit-based gun policy in 1997 and crime rose 200%. They neglect to point out that crime rose 600% in Australia between 1991 and 1997 before the new policy was enacted.  

Monkey
Monkey

 @Dave

Too much to reference, but please look into it yourself. Chicago has the most gun control, and the most violent crimes and murder. Washington D.C. is a another example of a near total gun ban that went wrong. Within two years of the handgun ban going into effect, the homicide rate per 100,000 went from 25 to 83. When the Supreme Court overturned the law, the rate soon dropped back close to the nation average of 11. Australia banned many weapons, 640,000 weapons were turned in and destroyed. Results: armed robberies went up 69%, assaults up 28%, gun murders up 19%, home invasions up 21%. Switzerland requires citizens to own guns, but Americans murder each other with guns 137 times more than they do. The UK, with extreme gun control, has 45% more total crime victims than their heavily armed neighbor, Switzerland.  Here is a international Harvard study. Lots of info out there, if you pay attention, you too will discover gun bans have never reduced violence.

 

http://theacru.org/acru/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

 @Scarifying And you shot off your penis, which is why you have to buy big guns to stuff in your pants.  Zing!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Monkey "Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry". – (Thomas Jefferson)

 

Is this the same Thomas Jefferson who bought, sold, kept, abused and raped his Negro Slaves?

 

Tyranny indeed!

Monkey
Monkey

 @DonkeyHotay Nice to see you here Donkey, I was wondering when you would show up. I got tired of "politicomm". after I would answer a question, he would just ask another, as if I'm his teacher. Maybe you and he can be friends, united against monkey's with guns. The reason I mentioned Waco was because they did fire back, for over 50 hours, even ran the ATF out of ammo. But everyone knows when that happened, they busted out the tank and burned them all to the ground, then claimed they burned themselves, America the beautiful. I guess that's what happens when guns are banned, the Gestapo comes by with a warrant to make sure you don't have the same weapons as them. Apparently, if you do, they pull a tank on your ass and burn your village down, I know I feel safer. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Monkey  "Military weapons are used against American Citizens everyday by the police."

 

 

  And not a single ONE of you Armed Patriots has the courage to fire back.

 

Go figure.

 

PolitiComm
PolitiComm

 @Monkey I see. So, do you believe that our right to bear arms should extend to an individual right to own a nuclear weapon?

 

Under what circumstances do police use "military" weapons? Do they use "military" weapons against truly law abiding citizens? And if those people aren't law abiding citizens should they have the "right" to use deadly force against police when police are attempting to execute a warrant issued by a court?

Monkey
Monkey

 @PolitiComm  Tyranny is the answer to the 1st question. 1993 tank assault in Waco might be the answer to the 2nd, I not sure. Military weapons are used against American Citizens everyday by the police.

PolitiComm
PolitiComm

 @Monkey An admirable variation on the domino theory. It wasn't true in Vietnam and it isn't true here.  Most tanks, bombs, artillery, missiles, etc. are legal for the government, but illegal for the citizenry.

 

Is that tyranny or common sense? 

 

Name the last time a tank, bomb, artillery round or missile was fired at an American Citizen by the U.S. government. And please don't prove the shallowness of your rhetoric by arguing "that's because we have AR-15s as a deterrent."

 

You're not from here, so give the people of Denver some credit. We aren't as stupid as you might like us to be.

Monkey
Monkey

@PolitiComm You are a silly man, but I will answer your question. The feds banned many guns and so did many States around 1994, remember? It's a reaction to violence, not a cure. After the federal ban expired and State laws were overturned, more people admitted to owning guns. Murder and overall violent crime rates have fallen since 2006. In fact, murder rates fell faster in States without "assault weapons" bans than in the States with them. I don't make extravagant cause and effect claims either, but I do find that the facts support gun control is counterproductive when used to reduce violence, but very effective when used to suppress citizens. You want to limit everyone because you don't trust anyone, I get it, but even the Clinton administration didn't find that the federal "assault weapons" ban reduced crime. If I let you dictate what is necessary, you wont stop at magazine capacity, you will keep destroying my rights like locust. I don't need a car that can go over 100mph, speeding is illegal, should we let police have fast cars and only allow citizens a horse and buggy? Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry. – (Thomas Jefferson)

PolitiComm
PolitiComm

Further, I've worked in juvenile justice and offender education for several years. The progenitors of deterrence theory (i.e., threats of greater punishment lead to lower crime rates) never point to cause and effect. They only point to correlated data.

 

For instance, the crime rate fell in the U.S. upon passage of mandatory sentencing laws. It also fell in Canada where they passed no such laws. 

 

Correlation proves nothing and provides evidence of very little.

 

What we do know is that every crime is:

1) Motive

2) Means

3) Opportunity

 

If we're serious about gun violence prevention, we have to limit one or all of those three things. Motive is the human factor. Improved mental health services, education and community policing can help. Means are the guns themselves. There may be a (paranoid) desire, but there is no realistic need for 100-round magazines that can fire out of a semi-automatic weapon in 90 seconds. Opportunities can be limited through robust (private or public) security measures and a common sense system of background checks.

 

As Westerners, we all respect the logic of the 2nd Amendment. As gun owners we should recognize that our rights carry responsibilities. Nobody is trying to take those rights away, but every right has limits. I wouldn't  shout 'fire' in a crowded theater and defend myself on the 1st Amendment. Likewise, I wouldn't expect others to give up their rights to life and liberty because I really like popping off a hundred targets in a row without reloading.

PolitiComm
PolitiComm

 @michael.roberts You bet. I have a plethora of stats on this subject. I'd be interested to know how Monkey explains the fact that reported gun ownership in the U.S. peaked at 53% in 1993 just as crime was at a 30 year high then fell to a low of 40% as crime was bottoming out in 2007.

 

I don't make any extravagant cause and effect claims, but I do find it interesting that those facts fly in the face of what we see being peddled in a lot of places on the Internet.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @PolitiComm  @Dave Thanks for the post, PolitiComm. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Appreciate you weighing in.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @Monkey Monkey, we're going to include your post on this subject, too. Thanks.

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