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More Than 1,000 Students and Educators, Led By Denver East High School Students Demand Action, Walkout and Rally Alongside Moms Demand Action Volunteers to Call for Action on Gun Safety

March 3, 2023

Day of Action Comes Days After Death of Denver East High School Student, Luis Gonzales

Colorado Lawmakers are Considering Historic Package of Life-Saving Gun Legislation this Session

Today, Colorado Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action, both parts of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, led a day of mobilization in Denver to urge lawmakers to take immediate action on gun safety.

Early this morning, the Denver East High School chapter of Students Demand Action led more than  1,000 Colorado students and educators in a walkout to call for immediate action on gun safety. This school year alone, the students of Denver East High School have faced shooting threats, countless lockdowns, a targeted swatting incident, the shootings of two students, and this week, the death of a classmate, 16 year-old Luis Garcia. The students departed the school and walked through the city, holding signs and chanting, culminating in a rally on the Capitol West Steps where Students Demand Action volunteers, Luis’ soccer teammates, and members of East High’s student council spoke to the crowd, calling for action on gun safety. 

Before joining with the students and educators, hundreds of Moms Demand Action volunteers from all across the state gathered at First Baptist Church to hear from Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, and Senator Tom Sullivan at their annual Advocacy Day. Following the events at First Baptist Church and the Capitol, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers headed inside the Capitol for meetings with legislators, thanking them for their leadership on gun safety and urging them to take action on the life-saving legislative package introduced by the Colorado House last week.

“Earlier this week, the nightmare we’ve been preparing for became a reality when our classmate, Luis, was taken by a senseless act of gun violence,” said Clara Taub, a volunteer with the Denver East High School chapter of Students Demand Action. “Today, we walked out of school and showed up at the state capitol to send a clear message to Colorado lawmakers — we can and we must do more. Now is the time to strengthen our gun laws.”

“We are rallying at the statehouse with students because communities across Colorado are facing a gun violence crisis,” said Abbey Winter, chapter leader with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Today we demand action from our lawmakers to address this epidemic. We also stand in solidarity today with students across the state as they honor the life of their classmate with action. We look forward to working with Governor Polis and other Colorado lawmakers to pass gun safety laws that will not only keep students, but all Coloradans safe.”

“It means so much to me to be back in Colorado for our Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Advocacy Day — not only because I used to call it home — but because Colorado also represents so much of the progress we’ve made as a movement,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “When we first began this work a decade ago, the gun lobby continually blocked gun violence prevention efforts. Now, thanks to the tireless grassroots work including electing our own volunteers, Colorado is a national leader for gun safety and shows no sign of slowing down.”

This year’s advocacy day comes on the heels of yet another year marked by gun violence. 2022 saw at least 26 mass shootings across the country, including two in Colorado — one in Aurora in October, and another in Colorado Springs in November. In response, state lawmakers have introduced a historic gun safety legislative package, including measures to expand the state’s Extreme Risk law, to raise the handgun and semiautomatic centerfire rifle purchase age to 21, to create a mandatory firearm purchase waiting period, and to help hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable for their role in the gun violence crisis. In November, Colorado voters made their voices heard loud and clear, electing more gun safety champions to the state House and Senate — strengthening Colorado’s gun sense trifecta that has the power and momentum to act on gun safety. Voters have done their part, and now, they are asking lawmakers to do theirs and get these bills across the finish line.

To speak with a Colorado Students Demand Action or Moms Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

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