Coloradans have become all too familiar with gun tragedies. In 1999, twelve students and one teacher were killed at Columbine High School, a name that has now become synonymous with mass shootings. Seven years later, a gunman held six girls hostage, eventually killing one, at Platte Canyon High School in the mountain town of Bailey, west of Denver. And then this past summer, James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58 others during a midnight showing of a movie at the Aurora Century 16 movie theater.
Those shootings, combined with the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, have spurred lawmakers in Colorado to push for an array of gun legislation, which supporters believe could prevent future violence. The PBS NewsHour spoke to a number of people who are on the front lines of that debate:
- Daniel Oates, the Police Chief of Aurora who became the public face of the tragedy after the shooting
- Dave Hoover, whose nephew was killed at the Aurora theater and who has begun lobbying state and federal lawmakers to pass new restrictions
- Richard Taylor, who manages the Firing Line Shooting Range and Gun Shop, located less than a mile from the Aurora theater
- Judy Gould, who has become politically active because of the violence and recently rallied at the state Capitol
- Damien Garcia, a gun owner who has recently purchased new guns because he is worried about future restrictions
- and Ron Blan, a former gang member who now works for the city of Aurora on a gang prevention task force.
Watch the full report from Colorado on Monday’s PBS NewsHour. You can watch a live stream of the program beginning at 6 p.m. ET Monday.
*PBS NewsHour has been following the discussion about gun violence and gun control policy as it unfolds across the nation and in Washington. Follow all of the stories on our special reports page, The Gun Debate*.