Two shootings in one week in Aurora last week serve as a stark reminder of the toll gun violence has on Colorado’s young people. Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in Colorado and there’s more we can and must do to prevent these shootings.
On Friday, at least three students were shot and wounded in a shooting at Hinkley High School in Aurora, Colorado. Recent reports indicate that three teenagers were arrested in connection with the shooting. Details are still developing. Last Monday, six teenagers between the ages of 14-18 years old were shot and wounded at Nome Park in Aurora, Colorado.
Earlier this year, Governor Jared Polis signed HB21-1299 into law, which establishes the Office of Gun Violence Prevention in the Department of Public Health and the Environment to help educate the public, law enforcement, and other stakeholders about Colorado’s gun violence prevention laws, including Colorado’s new secure firearm storage law, and establishes a grant program to support local community violence intervention work.
The bill was an important step in supporting local violence intervention programs which apply an effective, localized approach to gun violence prevention by providing evidence and community-informed, comprehensive support to individuals who are at greatest risk of gunshot victimization. These programs are shown to reduce gunshot wounds and deaths in the neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence, including among youth. This upcoming legislative session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action will advocate for funding for these life-saving programs and additional common-sense gun safety measures.
Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Colorado. In an average year, 805 people die and 360 people are wounded by guns in Colorado. Gun deaths have increased 32% from 2010 to 2019, compared to a 17% increase nationwide. Gun violence costs Colorado $5.6 billion each year, of which $170.2 million is paid by taxpayers.