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Hickenlooper, Bennet, Crow, DeGette, Thompson Remember Columbine 25 Years Later, Urge Congress to Pass Gun Safety Legislation

Apr 16, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, along with Representatives Jason Crow, Dianna DeGette, and Mike Thompson commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School mass shooting and urged Congress to pass gun safety legislation. 

“When I was governor of Colorado, we were able to make some advances – passing universal background checks, banning large capacity magazines – but even then it felt insufficient,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “What’s happened in the last 25 years is not insignificant. It’s immense, because we are building up that resolve to finally take action at the national level to address gun violence. We’re at that point now.”

Hickenlooper spoke alongside survivors of gun violence and leaders from gun violence prevention organizations, including Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel Mauser was killed in the Columbine shooting, and Kiki Leyba, a Columbine High School teacher who survived the shooting.

“25 years after Columbine, the leading cause of death for children in America is gun violence. It wasn’t when I was the Superintendent of Denver Public Schools or when Kiki started to teach at Columbine. No other country can say that about kids. No other country in the world is a place where kids grow up feeling at risk when they go to school,” said Senator Bennet. “Colorado has grown up in the shadow of gun violence because we haven’t done anything material about it as a nation. When we do, when we will, we show that democracy actually works – and for that, we owe everyone in this movement a debt of gratitude.”

“Families in Colorado’s 6th, like many across the nation, are all too familiar with the devastating and lasting impacts of gun violence on our communities. We had a chance to say ‘never again’ and mean it after Columbine. Twenty-five years later, it’s happened time and time again,” said Congressman Crow. “I applaud the Biden Administration’s recent efforts to close the gun show loophole – but we cannot wait another 25 years to make a lifesaving change. The fight against gun violence will take us all.”  

“I represented Columbine for many years before I turned it over to my good friend and true gun violence prevention champion, Jason Crow. In the 25 years since Columbine, more than 360,000 students have experienced violence at school,” said Congresswoman DeGette. “Students shouldn’t be scared to go to class. Gun violence prevention is not a partisan issue. It affects every family in this country – and it’s past time now for us to act at a national level. I am proud to work with leaders like Jason and our Senators to advocate for life-saving legislation.”

“Kids should be safe at school, at the movies, at the mall – kids should be safe everywhere,” said Congressman Thompson. “For over a decade now, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force has worked to bring about the change that has been so elusive, including recent success expanding background checks. But we have more work to do. Twenty-five years after 13 lives were taken at Columbine High School, guns are the number one cause of death for kids and teenagers. This is unacceptable, but together we can and will make our communities safer.”

“We cannot wait another 25 years to get a significant gun safety legislature,” said Tom Mauser. “The story is not over – not just for Columbine and the Columbine community, but in the case of all gun violence. It’s important for people to know that for the people who’ve lived through gun violence the story is never over.”

“I was a teacher at Columbine and still teach there 25 years after the shooting. In 25 years, we’ve learned the significant impact of gun violence. It is a painful, difficult, and lonely journey – uninvited and unwanted. Trauma comes into these communities, and takes up residence there for decades,” said Kiki Leyba. “Concerning the mental health of victims and support systems, I like to think that we teach our students to rise above and to have hope. Today, younger generations are there to do the work that it takes to make change happen. They are tired of gun violence – and will use their votes to make a difference.”

Hickenlooper has long advocated for common-sense solutions to address gun violence in the United States. Hickenlooper supported the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which expanded red flag laws, closed the boyfriend loophole, expanded background checks for young gun purchasers, and made historic investments in community-based mental health and violence prevention programs. Hickenlooper is also a co-sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban, the Background Check Expansion Act, the Equal Access to Justice of Gun Violence Act, and Ethan’s Law. As Governor, Hickenlooper enacted universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines after the 2012 Aurora theater shooting in Colorado.


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