Colorado shooting stirs nationwide debate on gun control, Aurora residents reflect
Published: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Updated: Saturday, July 28, 2012 15:07
In the wake of the July 20 Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, gun control and gun laws are taking center stage in political debates.
James Eagan Holmes, 24, a former student of University of Colorado Denver, is the main suspect in a shooting that killed 12 people and wounded 58 more, according to The Denver Post. The crime has renewed national interest in America’s gun policies and brought it to the forefront of political conversations across the nation.
This year’s first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is scheduled for October 3 at the University of Denver, about 10 miles from the theater in Aurora, Colo. There, gun control advocates plan “to keep pressing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on U.S. gun policy,” according to The Chicago Tribune.
"Right now it's kind of a political minefield because anybody who tries to politicize a tragedy is going to be demonized since it's so fresh right now,” said John Baker, 22, a 2012 graduate from University of Colorado Denver. “But once the emotional wounds start to heal, a natural reaction is going to be to ask about what could have been done to prevent this.”
As debate on gun control sweeps the nation, Connecticut’s lawmakers have also presented their opinions on the issue at the Democratic Connecticut Senate debate.
At the debate, Rep. Chris Murphy and former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz both voiced their support for gun control legislation, pointing out two recent gun-related deaths in Bridgeport, Conn.
"I absolutely think we need tougher gun control laws in our country," Bysiewicz said, according to Hearst Media. "We've seen states that have tough gun control laws have fewer deaths."
According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Colorado was ranked No. 27 out of the 50 states in terms of the strictness of its gun laws. Connecticut was ranked fifth. Colorado does not require firearms dealers to obtain a state license or regulate its sales of unsafe handguns, while Connecticut requires its firearms dealers to be licensed and handgun purchasers must possess an eligibility certificate.
“I assume that after this incident that a lot of people are buying guns for safety,” said Ally Palumbo, 22, an English major at Metropolitan State College of Denver. “I know one of my friends who was previously in the air force said he was going to go and get a gun in case something like this ever happened again.”
Despite the major debate and national attention garnered by the shooting, Baker said that the people of Aurora are trying to return to their normal lives in the wake of the tragedy.
"People are still going out," Baker said. "People are still going to movies and there's a strong feeling in Aurora that they want to keep living their lives."