November 04, 2021

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse introduces gun violence legislation in response to shooting that killed 10 in Boulder supermarket

Suzanne Fountain was shopping in aisle 10 of the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive on March 22, when a gunman opened fire.

Fountain, 59, was one of 10 people who died that day.

“A beacon was put out that day. It was absolutely senseless,” her sister Jen Macaskill said. “She was grocery shopping. We all go grocery shopping. Why is it that we can’t be safe in the grocery store?”

While new legislation cannot bring back the people who died in March, U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, who represents Boulder, is hopeful that the End Gun Violence Act he co-sponsored with Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass., might prevent similar occurrences in the future. The act would prevent people with violent criminal convictions in the past five years legally purchasing a gun.

“While no law can ultimately bring back the 10 lives lost on that Monday afternoon, it’s our hope that the action that we’re taking today will be critical in stopping future events of violence,” Neguse said in a news conference Thursday.

The Boulder shooter had been convicted of third-degree assault in 2018.

“Despite that conviction, the shooter was legally eligible under state and federal law to buy a gun,” Neguse said. “We believe that if the End Gun Violence Act had been the law of the land in March, that he would have been prevented from purchasing a firearm, which is exactly why it is absolutely crucial that we put the measure into place to prevent future tragedies.”

The Boulder District Attorney’s Office worked with the Lafayette Democrat to help draft the legislation and is in full support, according to Deputy District Attorney Christian Gardner-Wood.

“We need action on gun violence prevention,” he said. “And this bill represents real, concrete action on that front.”

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence also is in support. It makes sense to strengthen the criteria necessary to obtain a firearm legally, Federal Policy Director Lindsay Nichols said.

“Because of a legal loophole, current law allowed the Boulder shooter, someone who had been convicted of a violent crime, to pass a background check and purchase the gun he then used to kill 10 people in a supermarket,” Nichols said. “That loophole continues to allow … gun purchases by people who have been charged with and convicted of violent crimes classified as misdemeanors.”

However, the sponsors acknowledged the bill faces an uphill battle in order to pass. It likely would require abolishing the filibuster, Auchincloss said.

“I believe I owe it to my constituents and to Americans broadly just to speak very directly,” he said. “We need to abolish the filibuster for gun violence legislation, and then we need to pass this bill and its complement bills that are going to enact common sense legislation that other countries and states within this federation have demonstrated to save lives.”

In addition to Fountain, nine other people were killed in the King Soopers shooting: Office Eric Talley, 51; Rikki Olds, 25; Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.

By:  Deborah Swearingen
Source: Boulder Daily Camera