VICTORY FOR GUN SAFETY: Following the Relentless Advocacy of Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Volunteers, Colorado Lawmakers Advance Gun Violence Prevention Package
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers Rallied at the Capitol, Testified at All Legislative Hearings, Traveled Across the State to Urge Lawmakers to Pass Critical Legislation
Gun Safety Bills Will Now Receive Final Concurrence Votes Before Heading to Gov. Polis’ Desk
DENVER – Following tireless advocacy by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, Colorado lawmakers passed a package of four critical gun violence prevention bills. The bills now head to concurrence votes before heading to Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ desk to be signed into law. The life-saving measures seek to strengthen Colorado’s Extreme Risk law, raise the age for purchase of a firearm, hold the gun industry accountable for its role in our nation’s gun violence crisis, and create a mandatory waiting period for purchasing a firearm.
“This massive victory for gun safety is further proof of the political powerhouse that Colorado Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have become,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “From day one, our grassroots army of volunteers and survivors of gun violence have shown up and testified at every hearing, sent hundreds of calls and emails to lawmakers, students have marched out of school and returned day after day to demand they deserve better than fearing for their lives at school. We’re grateful for the steadfast leadership of Colorado’s gun sense lawmakers – including some of our own volunteers who are now in elected office – to ensure our families are safe.”
“The history of Colorado is marred by tragic mass shootings in places like Columbine, Aurora, and Colorado Springs — but with this life-saving legislation, the state is taking another big step toward a safer future,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown is grateful to the Colorado Senate and House for advancing a slate of bills that will go a long way to keep guns out of dangerous hands.”
“Across the country and right here in Colorado, my generation is bearing the burden of our gun violence crisis — but we’re also leading the fight to end it,” said Gracie Taub, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Colorado and co-lead for Denver East High School Students Demand Action. “Today, we are proud of the important steps our legislators are taking to prioritize our safety, yet we know the fight is not over. We will continue to work with our lawmakers to make necessary change and show Americans what it means to turn anger into action and hope into progress.”
“Today, Colorado took a huge step toward ensuring no other parent experiences the pain of losing their child to senseless gun violence,” said Rebekah Venturella, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action.“We are incredibly grateful to Senate President Fenberg, House Speaker McCluskie, former Moms Demand Action volunteer and gun violence survivor Senator Tom Sullivan, and the many other gun violence prevention champions in both chambers for understanding how critical this legislation is in saving lives. This is a huge milestone for our fight for gun safety here in Colorado, but there remains much more work to be done, and we will continue calling for action to save lives.”
Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have been at the forefront of advocating for this package, attending and testifying at hearings, meeting with legislators, and advocating for these life saving measures.
In February, Moms Demand Action volunteers stood by Colorado lawmakers as they introduced a gun violence prevention legislative package. The package introduction came following 2022, a year that 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. The historic bills introduced include:
- Senate Bill 23-170, legislation to strengthen Colorado’s Extreme Risk protection law;
- Senate Bill 23-168, legislation to help hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable for their role in the gun violence crisis;
- Senate Bill 23-169, legislation to raise the age requirement for firearm purchases to 21 years old;
- House Bill 23-1219, legislation to create a mandatory firearm purchase waiting period, which still awaits Senate passage.
The Senate bills advanced just days after news broke of a shooting at Denver East High School that left two staff members wounded. The House Bill just passed its final third reading in the Senate. This school year alone, the students of Denver East High School have faced the shootings of two students, and 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 immediate need for action on these 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.