GOLDEN, Colo. — Shooting victims and their families started a renewed push for tighter gun control laws to mark the seven-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting.
“How many more of these tragedies must our communities endure before somebody stands up to the gun lobby and passes laws that make us safer?” asked Tom Sullivan at a rally in Golden Wednesday.
Sullivan, who lost his son in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, said no parent should ever have to go through the same thing. He made it his mission to get tough on gun violence, and is part of a group called Everytown, which works to change guns laws at the federal level.
The first item on Everytown’s agenda is universal background checks for gun sales.
“If you don’t have background checks, you don’t know who is buying the gun and for what purpose they’re buying the gun,” said Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan, who is part of the push.
The thought of tighter rules surrounding guns never crossed the mind of Karina Vargas, until a stray bullet paralyzed her from the waist down.
Now, she fights to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Not everyone was on board, though.
“Plain and simple these laws are not going to work,” said gun rights activist Edgar Antillon.
Antillon has also been a victim of gun violence, but he said more restrictions is not the answer.
“What we need to focus on as the real message is educating the community,” he said.
Vargas said she worries education as a tool for change will take too long to save lives.
“I just want common sense gun laws to have everybody safe and not have fear,” said Vargas.
Other branches of Everytown started a similar push in cities across the country.
The group in Colorado is leading the way, since the state already requires background checks.