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Following School Shooting at Denver East High School, and On Two-Year Mark of Boulder King Soopers Mass Shooting, Colorado Lawmakers Advance Critical Gun Safety Bills

March 23, 2023

Gun Safety Bills Now Head to Colorado House Floor for a Vote, then toGovernor Polis’ Desk to be Signed Into Law

DENVER – Following tireless advocacy by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, Colorado lawmakers advanced critical and foundational gun violence prevention bills out of committee. The bills now head to the House for a vote and then over to Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ desk to be signed into law.

 Early this morning, House lawmakers voted out of the committee Senate Bill 23-170, a bill to strengthen Colorado’s extreme risk protection law, and Senate Bill 23-168, legislation to help hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable for their role in the gun violence crisis. On Monday, Colorado House lawmakers also voted Senate Bill 23-169, legislation to raise the age requirement for firearm purchase to 21 years old, out of committee. This comes after the Colorado House voted to pass House Bill 23-1219, legislation to create a mandatory firearm purchase waiting period, earlier this month. These bills are advanced following the two year mark of the mass shooting at King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, in which 10 people were shot and killed.

“Once again communities across Colorado are reeling from the trauma of gun violence,” said Abbey Winter, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “No other child should experience an active shooter situation in their classroom, let alone multiple times a year. More than ever, it is imperative lawmakers and Governor Polis move with urgency and pass these life-saving bills. We will continue to work with our partners in the legislature to finish the job and get these policies across the finish line, because that is how we honor survivors with action.”

“This is the reality of being young in America: sitting through a shooting and waiting for information just hours before you’re scheduled to testify in support of gun safety bills,” said Gracie Taub, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Colorado and co-lead for Denver East High School Students Demand Action. “Our school experience should not be completely shaped by gun violence, and every single incident is traumatizing for our entire community. We are calling on lawmakers to meet this moment with the urgency it needs — we can’t sit around waiting for another tragedy to happen.”

Action by the legislature comes hours after news broke of another shooting at Denver East High School that left two staff members wounded. This school year alone, the students of Denver East High School have faced the shootings of two students, and just recently, the death of a classmate, 16 year-old Luis Garcia, as well as multiple shooting threats, countless lockdowns, and a swatting incident. The shooting highlighted the immediacy for action on the gun safety bills. 

Volunteers from Moms Demand Actions and Students Demand Action have led the fight for common-sense gun safety solutions in the state. They have shown up and testified, spending nearly 12 hours in hearings, showing their support for the legislation and ensuring their voices were heard. Earlier this month, Denver East Student Demand Action hosted a summit to discuss gun safety solutions with state senators and representatives, along with school administrators, district officials, law enforcement, local leaders, and fellow gun safety advocates. The week prior, they led more than 1,000 Colorado students and educators in a walkout to call for immediate action on gun safety. Following the walkout and a rally on the capitol steps, Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action volunteers met with legislators urging them to continue taking action on gun safety.

In an average year, 930 people die and 466 are wounded by guns in Colorado. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Colorado, and an average of 79 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 51% are suicides and 45% are homicides. Gun violence in Colorado costs $2,039 per resident each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Colorado $11.7 billion each year, of which $156.1 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Colorado is available here.

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