Photos: Aurora, Columbine families hold emotional conference urging gun reforms
After a week of silence since the Sandy Hook massacre, the National Rifle Association today said that more guns need to be part of the strategy to stop this kind of violence. Meanwhile, families of the victims of the Aurora shooting and the Columbine tragedy came together for an emotional press conference where they begged officials to enact policies that would make it harder for mass murderers to access the kinds of weapons that killed their loved ones.
Big photos below.
Flanked by Representative Rhonda Fields and State Senator Morgan Carroll, the family of A.J. Boik, one of the twelve killed in the movie theater massacre on July 20, and the father of Daniel Mauser, a victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, came together at the State Capitol to express their horror at the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and urge officials and citizens across the country to push for meaningful policy reforms.
Many of the family members cried during the short news conference, and said that they want to see changes so that no more families have to suffer as they have. The news conference came exactly one week after a gunman shot his way into an elementary school with the same kind of weapon that the Aurora shooter had, and slaughtered twenty small children and six adult staffers.
Sam Levin Elected officials at the Capitol calling for gun-policy reforms this morning.
"My son A.J. Boik was a wonderful boy," said Theresa Hoover, in tears. "He had a very bright, bright future ahead of him. He was going to be a teacher. He wasn't in it for the money. He was in it because that was where his heart was."
She paused. "The world is a darker place. He's not here. I shouldn't have to be standing here. None of us should have to be standing here. Sandy Hook shouldn't have happened. There needs to be something done to stop the assault weapons and the mentally ill from owning guns. It's bigger than just that, but the conversation has got to start today. It should've started years ago and it's shame on us for letting it get this far."
She continued, crying in the front of a room packed with reporters and cameras: "You guys wouldn't even know who I was and I would really rather have it be that way. I don't want to have to be standing here because my son was murdered, because he went to the movie theater." A.J. Boik was eighteen when he was killed.
His uncle, Dave Hoover, stepped up to the microphone and added, "We are responsible for this world that we live in. For us to...watch this unfold every day across the country and say, 'What a tragic thing,' and not pick up the phone...as a parent, as a brother, as a relative of anybody in this world that you love...call your congressman. Call your senator. And say I want some change."
Continue for more from the news conference and for more photos.