ProgressNow timeline chronicles the year since the Aurora shooting
A lot can happen in a year, and "in the interests of memorializing the efforts of survivors of gun violence who fought to win historic state reforms" over that time period, ProgressNow Colorado has released a timeline of the aftermath of the July 20 Aurora theater shooting, says the oganization's Amy Runyon-Harms. "We just wanted to make sure there was an accurate depiction of what's happened here in Colorado over the last year. This horrible tragic thing has happened in our state and Coloradans mobilized to make sure we wouldn't experience anything like this again."
ProgressNow assembled the timeline for national reporters who may plan to cover the one-year anniversary of the theater shooting but might not be familiar with what's happened in Colorado since then, Runyon-Harms says.
"When something like this happens, its hard to find a silver lining," she continues. "If there can be a silver lining to such a tragedy, it's that Coloradans came together to pass reforms that will help protect fellow Coloradans in the future."
Read ProgressNow Colorado's timeline below.
● July 20, 2012 at approximately 12:38 a.m. A gunman enters a darkened Aurora theater at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises carrying high-capacity semi-automatic guns and opens fire on the crowd, killing twelve and wounding seventy. At 12:46 a.m. officers on the scene confront the suspect, James Holmes, in the parking lot outside the theater and take him into custody.
● July 22, 2012. A candlelight vigil is held to commemorate the lives of the victims:
Jonathan Blunk, age 26
Alexander J. Boik, age 18
Jesse Childress, age 29
Gordon Cowden, age 51
Jessica Ghawi, age 24
John Larimer, age 27
Matt McQuinn, age 27
Micayla Medek, age 23
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, age 6
Alex Sullivan, age 27
Alexander C. Teves, age 24
Rebecca Wingo, age 32
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter also calls for a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban.
● July 23, 2012. James Holmes makes his first court appearance where he's read his rights and appointed a public defender.
● July 25, 2012. President Barack Obama visits wounded survivors in the hospital and orders flags at government buildings to be flown at half-staff.
● July 30, 2012. Colorado prosecutors file formal charges against Holmes that include 24 counts of first degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder.
● August 8, 2012. Public Policy Polling releases a poll which shows that Colorado voters "overwhelmingly support a renewal of the assault weapons ban. Fifty-two percent of independents, 84 percent of Democrats, and even 38 percent of Republicans support that."
● August 9, 2012. Holmes's attorneys say their client is mentally ill and that they need more time to assess the nature of his illness.
● September 17, 2012. The Gun Issues Working Group -- a broad coalition led by female state legislators -- meets for the first time to discuss possible gun violence prevention measures that include:
○ Closing the private sales loophole on background checks
○ Improving mental health checks for gun sales
○ Limits on high capacity magazines
The legislators leading the push for gun safety legislation include Representative Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), whose son was murdered with a gun in 2005, and Representative Beth McCann (D-Denver), who served as Denver's public safety manager during the 1993 "Summer of Violence."
● December 13, 2012. Governor John Hickenlooper declares, ahead of Colorado's 2013 legislative session, that the "time is right" to have a conversation about "large magazines."
● December 14, 2012. The tragic shooting of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, occurs that morning and happens to coincide with the final meeting of The Gun Issues Working Group tasked with drafting gun safety legislation in Colorado.
● December 21, 2012. Five months and one day after the Aurora shooting, and exactly a week to the day after the Newtown shooting, Representative Fields stands with Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), Representative McCann and fellow survivors of gun violence to formally announce that the Colorado General Assembly will take on gun safety legislation in 2013.
See the second half of the timeline on the next page: