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By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Seth Moulton (Image source: Public domain)
With so many mass shootings happening over several years and the laws never changing, some Democratic candidates are saying if the lawmakers in office can't get gun control laws passed, it's time for them to step aside.
It was a fitting place for a gun safety town hall meeting on Tuesday night — Aurora, Colorado, the site of a shooting in 2012 that left 12 people dead and many others injured inside a movie theater that was showing a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." It was the deadliest shooting in the state since Columbine.
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Jason Crow said if the leadership on Capitol Hill isn't willing to pass gun control measures, those lawmakers need to be replaced. Crow is a Democrat running against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.
"One of the things we don't like to talk about is that when Democrats were last in charge, we didn't pass any of these measures either. And so I think it's time for a new generation of leadership across the Congress," announced Moulton.
This response was after a woman asked Moulton if he saw signs that the GOP would be willing to work with Democrats on gun legislation. He thought there were signs, in particular mentioning the bipartisan support for bump stock bans after the Las Vegas shooting last year.
"Folks at the federal level have lacked any political will to actually do something about [gun safety]," Joe Neguse, a Congressional candidate from Colorado, told BuzzFeed News. "The good news is I think that's about to change. Because I think we're going to change the folks that we send to Washington."
Neguse is running to replace Rep. Jared Polis, who is running as a Democrat to become the governor of Colorado. Both have picked up Moulton's endorsement, as has Crow.
Neguse was asked how big of a role he thought gun safety would take on in the midterm elections in November. He replied, "A huge role because it is a huge issue."
"It will play, I think, a defining role in the general election in 2018. Because, I can speak with respect to folks that I meet on the campaign trail in the district that I'm seeking to represent, people are deeply concerned about it," he added.
"At the end of the day, I think people are clamoring for change. And they want policymakers to finally take this issue seriously."
With Tom Sullivan running for a Colorado state House seat in the audience, the conversation takes on extra importance. His son died in the Aurora theater shooting. Also in attendance was Jane Dougherty, an activist who lost her sister, a psychologist, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
"We have common sense proposals here," said Crow. "This isn't for lack of ideas. We have great ideas, we have great policy proposals. We just lack the will, and we lack the votes, to make them happen, and the courage to make it happen, right, and that goes back to the votes.
"So if the people who are in leadership now don't have the courage, then you just kick them out. That's the bottom line."
Crow noted at the end that there was just over 90 days until the midterm elections. "And in that time either we're going to have a new set of leadership who's willing to take action ... and we're going to make change, and we're going to save thousands of lives every year in this country, or we're not."
The tide seems to be on the Democrats side with recent special and primary elections. All seats aren't turning blue, but there have been many close calls fo the Republicans, in races that shouldn't have been close, leading many Democrats to have hope for November and worrying many Republicans.
However, they need to listen to the warnings here from Colorado. If the Democrats are able to pull it together and take over the House and possibly even the Senate in November, they have to act to finally make a change to gun legislation, if they're ever going to see any change at all.
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