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As Boulder tries to heal, activists are once again calling for lawmakers to act

Posted at 4:38 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 11:41:54-04

BOULDER, Colo. — Hours after a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers, gun control activists are once again calling for lawmakers to act. It’s a debate that rages after every mass shooting.

Darcy Lopez survived the Boulder shooting. She was working in the cheese section when the shots rang out.

“Something’s got to give. Something’s got to change. We have to stop this,” Lopez said.

Bob Olds niece, Rikki Olds, was also an employee at the King Soopers. She was killed in the shooting. Olds said he believes mass shootings are a mental health issue.

“Let’s take care of our people. It’s not the gun. The gun can’t do it. It’s the person behind the gun,” Olds said.

Democratic state lawmakers are proposing change

This year, Colorado lawmakers are proposing a safe storage gun bill and one on reporting lost and stolen firearms. Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, said lawmakers are also considering more legislation.

“We’re in discussions about what we think we should do,” Fenberg said. “The best-case scenario in this moment in time is more federal action. Putting that aside, we need, I believe, more state action.”

Democratic state Rep. Tom Sullivan’s son, Alex, died in the Aurora theater shooting in 2012. He said he was elected to fight for his son and survivors of gun violence and to never forget what gun violence and what survivors look like.

“We lost 10 lives on Monday afternoon, but we’re making some progress,” he said.

Sullivan helped pass the red flag law in Colorado in 2019, which took effect the following year.

The passage of the law was one of the most controversial and monumental measures of that legislative session.

The law allows a family member or law enforcement officer to petition the court for a temporary extreme risk protection order for someone who is proven to pose a significant risk to themselves or others by possessing a firearm.

Meanwhile, Republicans, like Weld County Sen. John Cooke, don’t think more legislation is the answer.

“I don’t think these bills are going to make anyone safer. I think they’re going to make some people feel safer,” Cooke said.

Boulder elected leaders want to take matters into their hands

Boulder had an ordinance that banned people from buying assault weapons, but a district judge overturned it just 10 days before the shooting at King Soopers.

While the gunman bought his gun legally in Arvada after passing a background check, there’s still anger among local leaders, like Boulder Councilman Aaron Brockett.

“If no higher levels of government are stepping up to support us, then it’s our job at the city and municipal level,” he said.

Two bills sit in limbo on Capitol Hill

At the federal level, the U.S. House has already passed two bills. One requires background checks on nearly every gun purchase. The other closes a loophole letting a sale go forward if a background check takes longer than three days.

Colorado Congressman Jason Crow said he supports the legislation.

“We know these things work. We have an obligation. I have an obligation as a lawmaker to continue to try to push that progress,” Crow said.

President Joe Biden has also shown support.

“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said at a press conference last week.

Gun rights attorney weighs in

Outside of D.C., gun rights attorney Edwin Walker also doesn’t think laws are the answer.

“There’s always going to be people who have evil intent,” Walker said. “Our answer, of course, is that good people need to stand in the way of bad people, and you do that by going out… getting your own.”

It's a familiar conversation with familiar arguments, and all signs are pointing to yet another path to gridlock on Capitol Hill.

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