Aurora Theater Shooting

Photos: Aurora, Columbine families hold emotional conference urging gun reforms

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The pleas from Boik's grieving family members come the same week that there has been a renewed discussion of gun control and gun violence in Colorado, with two Democratic members of Congress pushing different pieces of legislation that could make it harder for criminals to access such dangerous weapons.

Governor John Hickenlooper also recently said he was interested in reforms, but he was short on specifics.

Meanwhile, the NRA this morning called for guards in every school in America.

The NRA placed blame for Sandy Hook in a lot of different places, but not on guns. And Wayne LaPierre, the head of the association, said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy is a good guy with a gun."

A reporter read this quote out loud at the news conference at the Capitol today, asking Dave Hoover for his perspective.

"What we need to do is stop blaming people for what is happening in this world and start fixing the infrastructure that we live within, because if we fix the problem after everything is done, nobody's going to be around," he said. "We have to stand up and say.... Let's start right now... Let's stop killing our families out there in the streets."

He added: "Nobody wants to come in and take your gun away from you. But I don't think it's too much for us to ask that if I'm an individual who has lost their mind and wants to go wreak havoc...for the love of God, we should be able to stop that.... For us to say let's throw more guns at it. Well, there were fewer guns on the street when Columbine happened. There are more guns on the street now and look at where we stand."

Carroll and Fields both said they expect to see many gun-control proposals in the next legislative cycle and, though they anticipate the debates to be contentious, the time has come for common-sense solutions.

"When you just sort of increase the influx of firearms without fixing the structural issues, you're frankly going to make the problem worse," Carroll says of the responses coming from gun-rights groups like the NRA and of the surge of gun sales in Colorado. "It's not a solution. It's a decoy."

Mauser, who has been a vocal gun-control advocate since his son died, said he has stood at too many of these press conferences and is sick of the same statements and excuses. "We want a plan for something better," he said. "We want action."

Meanwhile, in Civic Center Park all day today, activists are hosting a "Colorado Day of Peace" in honor of the Sandy Hook victims.

Continue for more photos from the Capitol and from Civic Center Park.

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Sam Levin
Contact: Sam Levin