The murder of ten Boulderites who were grocery shopping in March of 2021 is
one of the most traumatic and tragic events in our city’s history.
As a parent, one of the hardest things I have had to do is explain to my young children what happened that day. My family lives in south Boulder and King Soopers is our neighborhood grocery store where I have been shopping with my kids countless times. Driving by the memorial on a daily basis meant we could only keep the realities of what happened that day from them for so long. Our kids, and particularly our oldest, understood something big had happened as he watched my wife and I cry on and off for a few weeks. We talked in greater detail with my six-year-old than with our three-year-old about the shooting, and he even came with me to Officer Talley’s procession to pay our respects and give thanks for his service and heroism.
A few weeks ago as my son and I rode our bikes to Sweet Cow in the Table Mesa shopping center, he asked what all the trucks and equipment were doing at King Soopers. I told him that they were remodeling the grocery store. Without skipping a beat he asked, “Are they going to put locks on the doors to keep people safe?” I found it heart-breaking to hear my six-year-old worrying about ways to keep people safe. This is a job adults are supposed to do, and this is what I intend to do on city council.
Thankfully many people in our state are already making real progress on gun safety. On the heels of the shooting, things felt especially helpless. Yet our state legislators acted quickly to pass legislation that would repeal Colorado’s “pre-emption” laws, which prohibited local governments from enacting their own gun legislation. A big thanks to Senator Steve Fenberg, Representative Judy Amabile, and Representative Eddie Hooton for leading this effort to allow cities the power to protect their residents from the harms of gun violence. The question facing us is: Now that cities have this authority, where do we go from here?
I will focus on passing three policy actions early in my term on Council:
Reaffirm the assault weapon ban that Boulder passed in 2018
Prohibit the open carry of weapons throughout the city
Prohibit the concealed carry of weapons in city-owned and public places. Examples include but are not limited to:
Parks and recreational areas
Pearl Street Mall
It is critically important for us to remember that this is not just about mass shootings. Common sense gun laws can help prevent a plethora of issues including suicide prevention (which accounts for over 75% of gun related deaths in Colorado), domestic violence, drugs issues, and general crime. We have a moral and ethical obligation to minimize the harms that arise in our gun culture, and we have waited for too long for our federal leaders to act on responsible gun legislation. In the absence of their leadership, I am committed to protecting our community. If Boulder and like-minded cities across the Front Range and around the state enact real reforms, we may put enough pressure on our state’s elected officials to adopt these changes statewide. This is our moment to show that lasting change does not have to trickle down from Washington DC but rather can percolate up from cities like Boulder.
I will be honored to join Council Members Rachel Friend, Aaron Brockett and Bob Yates in passing common sense gun laws to keep our community safe and secure.