Giffords Marks the 10 Year Anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shooting
Washington DC — Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, marked the 10 year anniversary of the mass shooting on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, when a gunman killed 12 people and injured 70 people during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords:
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been a decade since 12 innocent lives were taken too soon, 70 people were injured, and a community was torn apart by gun violence. I have visited Aurora a number of times and consider many members of the community to be friends—like Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, whose daughter was killed in the shooting and who have spent the years since advocating for survivors of gun violence. Like Colorado Rep. Tom Sullivan, who, following his son’s death in the shooting, turned his grief into action by becoming a state lawmaker. I am constantly inspired by the perseverance of survivors and communities in the wake of violence, and the Aurora community epitomizes this courage. Here we are 10 years after this tragedy, and we have made tremendous progress across the state. While there is still work to be done, I’m looking forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with Coloradons as we continue to fight for gun safety.”
Sandy and Lonnie Phillips:
“One decade ago, after our daughter, Jessi, was senselessly gunned down by a crazed killer wielding a weapon of war as she watched a movie, we began our journey into this upside-down world of gun violence prevention. During these past 10 years, through our organization in Jessi’s memory, we have personally responded to the immediate needs of 21 public mass shooting victims and learned firsthand from their anguish that we have not done enough and can never stop. We are compelled to intensify our fight to obliterate the warped narrative that ‘more guns make us safer,’ which our uniquely American gun culture has embedded in America’s collective conscience.”
Since the Aurora shooting, Colorado legislators have worked hand in hand with Giffords to take action. They have passed legislation addressing background checks and large-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as laws to require the reporting of a lost or stolen firearm and establish extreme risk protection orders. Most recently, after a mass shooting in Boulder, legislators passed laws to establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention and close the Charleston Loophole, as well as enact a law to allow municipalities to regulate their own gun laws. In June, local communities passed the first local ordinances that Giffords helped draft.
These laws were enacted despite facing reactionary recall petitions, and since the Aurora shooting voters have proven they want Colorado leaders to keep up the fight to save lives by establishing stronger gun safety majorities in the state legislature following the 2018 and 2020 elections. Despite this progress, there is still work to be done. In 2020, Colorado had the 22nd-highest gun death rate among the states and the 21st-highest gun export rate. In order to improve the safety of its communities, lawmakers in Colorado should pass laws to promote responsible gun industry conduct and ensure victims’ access to justice in the courts, regulate the sale of ghost guns, require waiting periods for all firearm sales, raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, and invest in lifesaving community violence intervention programs.
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