Presidential Candidate John Hickenlooper Visits Newtown, Talks Gun Violence Prevention
John Wright Hickenlooper, Jr, United States presidential candidate for 2020, visited the C.H. Booth Library on May 25 to discuss his campaign stance on gun-related topics. Mr Hickenlooper served as the 42nd Governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019 and is a member of the Democratic Party.
The event was moderated by Newtown resident and Democratic Town Committee Chairman Eric Paradis.
Those in attendance included affiliates of all ages from local gun violence prevention groups such as the Newtown Action Alliance, Junior Newtown Action Alliance, Connecticut Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign, and Moms Demand Action. First responders, survivors, and families in the community affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were invited to attend, as well.
All were encouraged to discuss what action they want to see the presidential candidate take when it comes to preventing gun violence on a national level.
Mr Hickenlooper has previously met with survivors of the Columbine High School shooting and the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting.
Though Mr Hickenlooper had not been to Newtown since his college days living in Connecticut for ten years, he relayed that gun violence prevention is of utmost importance to him.
“We share some intense commonality,” Mr Hickenlooper said, looking around at the faces of those seated around him in the room.
As governor of Colorado, he experienced the Aurora movie theater mass shooting on July 20, 2012. He called it one of “the most sobering experiences anyone can have” and visited with survivors in the hospital.
According to a press release sent prior to his talk in Newtown, “After the tragic mass shooting at the Aurora movie theater, Governor Hickenlooper passed universal background checks and banned high-capacity magazines — becoming the first governor of a purple state to do so.”
Last week, Mr Hickenlooper announced his national gun violence prevention plan that has six strategies:
- Increasing education and gun safety, including a national standard for gun licensing; opposing concealed carry reciprocity; funding local community-based programs to break the cycle of gun violence in urban areas; and replicating the Massachusetts safe storage law.
- Using data to stop mass shootings, including leveraging technology to strengthen threat assessments; and funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research on gun violence.
- Keeping firearms in the right hands, including a national universal background checks; raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21; stopping gun trafficking; folding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and grants to encourage states to implement extreme risk protection orders.
- Eliminating weapons of war, including national magazine limits; codifying the ban on bump stocks; banning the sale of silencers; bringing back the assault weapons ban; and outlawing the manufacture of ghost guns and 3D printed guns.
- Keeping our schools safe, including expanding access to mental health services in our schools and communities; establishing threat assessment teams nationwide; bringing Colorado’s Successful “Safe 2 Tell” Program to Every School; and long-term support for survivors and first responders.
- Liability for manufacturers and dealers: The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) needs to be repealed to put gun manufacturers in the same category as every other business. No private enterprise should be immune from liability.
“We have a pretty detailed policy on how to make our schools and communities safer,” Mr Hickenlooper told The Newtown Bee. “I think it is a platform that is achievable.”
Following his talk in Newtown, Mr Hickenlooper traveled to Middletown to speak with Connecticut Student Democrats.
To review Mr Hickenlooper’s full gun violence prevention plan, visit medium.com/@johnhickenlooper/my-plan-for-gun-violence-prevention-c1e6ea2f350c.
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