Colorado leaders hold virtual conversations promoting healing, discussing prevention after shooting

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BOULDER, Colo. — On Wednesday, Boulder city leaders were joined by community organizers, as well as state and federal legislators in virtual conversations to discuss healing and prevention after Monday’s shooting at King Soopers that tragically killed ten people.

The first virtual gathering was held primarily between state and federal lawmakers and included more dialogue on policy.

Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennett said he would be advocating for tougher background checks and limits on gun magazine sizes.

“I’m very ashamed of us, political leadership in Washington, D.C, that her [my daughter’s] entire generation has grown up in the shadow of gun violence with a reasonable fear that they can be killed at their school, killed at their synagogue, or killed at their church or a movie theater. I can see it in their eyes every time something like this happens. My generation of Americans didn’t have to grow up with that level of fear,” Bennett said.

Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse added his support of gun reform.

“It’s trauma that keeps happening over and over again, but we have to act responsibly and thoughtfully so what we introduce — and we will be introducing legislation in response to this — but it has to be responsible,” said state Rep. Edie Hooten, D-Boulder. “Which is why we are partnering with The Gifford Foundation, with Mom’s Demand Action, with Everytown for Gun Safety, because they have for over a decade been in the middle of this, and they know better than anyone else what works, what doesn’t work and what needs to be done.”

Hooten added she and other lawmakers will also partner with mental health resources to craft legislation.

Later Wednesday evening, the Boulder City Council called a special meeting that began with moment of prayer for each of the ten victims.

RELATED: These are the 10 victims of the Boulder King Soopers shooting

Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver then shared that he had received a call from President Joe Biden earlier in the day.

“He expressed his deepest sympathies to all of Boulder specifically, as well to the victims’ families and also called out Officer Talley for his heroic efforts and sacrifice he made,” Weaver said.

“There is no motive or explanation that could justify the action or relieve the pain of those left behind in our entire community,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “Nothing about what happened Monday is normal, and we must do everything we can to keep ourselves and one another from becoming desensitized to this pain, even if that seems like the easier choice.”

Boulder city councilors and community members shared reflections on the collective grief and shock from Monday’s violence.

Amy Nelson, a teacher at Fairview High School, spoke of the moment she learned her former student, Denny Song, was one of the victims.

“My friend and colleague called me Tuesday to tell me the news. Denny was one of the names, she told me exactly what I was terrified to hear,” Nelson said. “Everything after that was a blur — the emotions were too big. Since names were announced, we’ve heard witnesses speak to Denny’s heroic efforts. There’s not a doubt in my mind that these accounts are true. Denny died a hero. Thank you for saying his name and remembering the hero he was.”

Weaver said the city would be working through its social media channels to provide mental health resources for residents.

“I want to say thank you to our community again for showing up tonight and sharing your emotions. It is step that was needed. It’s needed by me, it’s needed by our council, it’s needed by our staff and our whole community,” Weaver said during closing remarks. “Thank you for sharing, and I want to say I’m sorry and who I’m sorry to is the younger generation. Anyone who has grown up having to learn those skills — to survive in a school — deserves an apology from all of us who are older. We have failed in vision, we have failed in will power, we have failed in execution, and it is time to stop failing on this subject. We owe it to the younger people in our community to fix this problem, which is corrosive, it is deadly and it is evil. And we must take the weapons of human destruction of the hands of people that are not fit to use them.”

The special meeting lasted for four hours.