New Ad: Survivor Of Aurora Theater Massacre Reflects On One Year Anniversary Of Shooting, Asks Washington Lawmakers To Finally Take Action To Reduce Gun Violence

Jul 20, 2013, 13:04 ET from Mayors Against Illegal Guns

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., July 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns today announced a new television ad featuring Stephen Barton, a survivor of the Aurora, CO shooting that took place one year ago. In the ad, Barton recalls his chilling experience in the theater that night and asks for action from Washington lawmakers like Senator Mark Pryor to keep guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, and those with serious mental illness.

Polling shows that as many 84 percent of Arkansans support expanding background checks to all gun sales, a figure roughly in line with the more than 90 percent of Americans overall who support background checks.

Despite this, Senator Pryor stood with a minority of US Senators and the Washington gun lobbyists blocking a bipartisan background checks bill proposed by NRA "A"-rated Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin that would have closed the loopholes that make it easy for dangerous people to get guns.

The ad can be viewed at and will begin airing on television today in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C. 

"As amazed as I am that a year has passed since that tragic night in Aurora, I'm even more shocked that our elected leaders in Washington have accomplished nothing in that time to make such horrific tragedies less likely," said Barton. "Thousands of Americans have been murdered with firearms since last July, but our gun laws remain dangerously lax and loophole-ridden. How many more people have to be killed or injured by a gun before Washington acts?"

The ad's release comes in the middle of the "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" – a 25-state national bus tour over a period of 100 days aimed at urging America's leaders to support common-sense gun policies. At each stop, participants have held rallies with a broad coalition of supporters – including police, survivors, gun owners, domestic violence prevention advocates, mayors, and other elected officials – to commemorate those we've lost and to call on our leaders to stand with the American people in support of common-sense gun laws.

Evidence demonstrates that background checks help save lives. In states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:

  • Gun trafficking was 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.[1]
  • The rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.[2]
  • The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.[3]
  • Thirty-nine percent fewer law enforcement officers were shot to death with handguns.[4] 

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 950 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.  Learn more at

[1] Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, and Maria Bulzacchelli, "Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking," Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.

[2] U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2010.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].

[4] Federal Bureau of Investigation. LEOKA Database, 2001-2011 (Accessed Mar. 2013).

Alex Katz: or 617-721-3779 
Jack Warner: or 914-575-1090


SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns