An­other mass shoot­ing; an­other call for ac­tion

The Denver Post - - OPINION -

An­other 12 in­no­cent Amer­i­cans are dead. This time po­lice are re­port­ing a Ma­rine vet­eran opened fire with a .45 cal­iber Glock hand­gun in a coun­try mu­sic bar in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia.

We are still wait­ing to learn who all of the vic­tims are, but we do know it is likely many were young stu­dents from nearby col­leges. We also know Ron Helus, a sergeant with the Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, rushed into the bar to con­front the shooter and was killed.

As the de­tails emerge, they will be no less hor­ri­fy­ing than the har­row­ing ac­counts of sense­less death and mirac­u­lous sur­vival that came from the Tree of Life syn­a­gogue fol­low­ing a shoot­ing in Pitts­burgh last month.

If it feels like these deadly ram­pages are be­com­ing more fre­quent, that’s be­cause they are.

Philip Bump, a cor­re­spon­dent for The Wash­ing­ton Post, re­ported Fri­day that from 1984 to 2004 there were mass shoot­ings (in­ci­dents that killed at least 10 peo­ple) about once ev­ery four years. But there have now been four such in­ci­dents in 2018 alone and in the four years be­fore that there were eight.

No one thing could have pre­vented these tragedies.

But one fact stands out: shoot­ers in the ma­jor­ity of the cases were able to kill scores of peo­ple us­ing guns de­signed for ex­actly that pur­pose.

Vot­ers in metro-Den­ver have sig­naled they are ready to see law­mak­ers en­act more dras­tic mea­sures to at least try some­thing.

Repub­li­can in­cum­bents, two of whom em­braced mod­er­ate gun re­form known as a red flag law that em­pow­ers judges to tem­po­rar­ily seize guns from those deemed a risk, were ousted from of­fice by Demo­cratic can­di­dates pledg­ing to go much fur­ther.

U.S. Rep.-elect Ja­son Crow sup­ports a ban on mil­i­tary-style as­sault weapons and ac­ces­sories sim­i­lar to the 1994 fed­eral ban that was al­lowed to ex­pire in 2004. He won in Con­gres­sional Dis­trict 6 by 10 points over the once-thought-in­vin­ci­ble Rep. Mike Coff­man.

Tom Sul­li­van ousted Repub­li­can state Rep. Cole Wist. Sul­li­van’s son was mur­dered in the Au­rora the­ater shoot­ing and it prompted him to be­come an ad­vo­cate for gun safety. Wist lost by 7 points a seat he had won the pre­vi­ous elec­tion by 9 points. Wist was one of the 2018 spon­sors of a red flag law that failed at the Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

And per­haps the big­gest re­pu­di­a­tion of the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion’s stran­gle­hold on Col­orado pol­i­tics is the de­feat of state Sen. Tim Neville, a Repub­li­can fre­quently sup­ported by Col­orado’s gun lobby Rocky Moun­tain Gun Own­ers. Neville lost to first-time can­di­date Tammy Story by an in­cred­i­ble 13 points.

Col­orado law­mak­ers have a man­date to build on gun leg­is­la­tion that passed in 2013: a ban on mag­a­zines that hold more than 15 bul­lets, uni­ver­sal back­ground checks, more re­quire­ments for con­cealed carry per­mits, and gun con­fis­ca­tion from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sus­pects. We sup­ported those mea­sures then and would have sup­ported a straight­for­ward ban of as­sault weapons if it had been pro­posed.

Democrats would be wise to note that mak­ing their mem­bers from some dis­tricts vote on these bills will ex­act a high penalty. Gun con­trol is far more com­pli­cated than it at first ap­pears — gun man­u­fac­tur­ers skirted around Cal­i­for­nia’s ini­tial as­sault weapon ban with bul­let but­ton de­vices. The pit­falls of try­ing to draft leg­is­la­tion that would have a last­ing im­pact are many, and Democrats had best make sure it’s worth the po­lit­i­cal cost.

But we al­ready know the cost of hav­ing easy ac­cess to weapons de­signed for war, de­signed to kill peo­ple quickly and ef­fi­ciently. That cost was felt by fam­i­lies Thurs­day who learned they lost their loved ones not at war but at a col­lege-night line danc­ing event that turned deadly. Mem­bers of The Den­ver Post’s ed­i­to­rial board are Me­gan Schrader, edi­tor of the ed­i­to­rial pages; Lee Ann Co­la­cioppo, edi­tor; Justin Mock, CFO; Bill Reynolds, vice pres­i­dent of cir­cu­la­tion and pro­duc­tion; Bob Kin­ney, vice pres­i­dent of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy; and TJ Hutchin­son, sys­tems edi­tor.

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