Throughout the last month, students and staff from East High School in Denver have flooded the halls of the Colorado State Capitol to demand action on gun violence. The school community has experienced two shootings within two months; one resulting in the death of a student, the other in the death of the student perpetrator and two seriously injured staff members.
The students aren’t asking for much, just to live and learn in safety. Colorado Democrats are failing them.
Last week, three Democrats voted against an assault weapon ban sponsored by Rep. Elisabeth Epps of Denver. The bill would have banned the sale of rapid-fire trigger activators and bump stocks, two devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to function like an automatic.
The three votes, cast by Rep. Said Sharbini of Thornton, Rep. Marc Snyder of Manitou Springs and Rep. Bob Marshall of Highlands Ranch, kept the bill from progressing past the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was expected to pass the full house floor, had it moved past committee.
Sharbini, Snyder and Marshall voted against the bill after hearing 12 hours of testimony from more than 500 witnesses, including several East High School students. They looked Colorado’s youth in the eyes and chose to vote against their lives.
Lake County’s state representative, Julie McCluskie, has refused to comment publicly on the bill. Governor Jared Polis has repeatedly declined to endorse an assault weapons ban.
Colorado Democrats currently hold a supermajority in the state house. This should be a time for progressive action on gun violence, an opportunity to prevent the next Columbine, Aurora movie theater, Boulder grocery store and Colorado Springs nightclub.
Democrats tell us they are serious about gun control. But when the time comes to prove it, many fail to follow through. They prioritize their political future over doing the right thing.
To say I am disappointed in Sharbini, Snyder, Marshall, McCluskie, Polis and any other Democrat who fails to overtly support common sense gun reform is an understatement. My head spins, my heart hurts, and my anger grows each and every day I am forced to read about a new shooting.
I encourage Lake County residents who care about this issue to write McCluskie to proclaim your support for an assault weapon ban. And while you’re at it, contact the offices of Sharbini, Snyder and Marshall. Let them know they’ve failed us.
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