The clamorous debate over gun laws continues, and once again a Wesleyan person is entering the ring. This time, on a state (or even national) level.
Colorado Governor and DGA vice-chair John Hickenlooper ’74, who directly confronted the carnage of gun violence last summer in the immediate wake of the Aurora shooting, called for universal background checks for all gun sales in his State of the State address on Thursday. As the Denver Post reports, Hickenlooper’s call was greeted with a standing ovation among Democrats:
The governor received a standing ovation, at least among Democrats, when he called for background checks on all gun sales. Currently, people who purchase guns from individuals are not required to undergo background checks. But Republicans did applaud Hickenlooper when he called for strengthening the state’s mental-health system in hopes of catching would-be assailants sooner.
“Surely, Second Amendment advocates and gun-control supporters can find common ground in support of this proposition: Let’s examine our laws and make the changes needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Hickenlooper said. “It’s not enough to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons. We have to do a better job of identifying and helping people who are a threat to themselves and others.”
Hickenlooper also addressed discussions of mental health awareness, urging Colorado to “pass legislation that will update civil commitment laws, make it easier to identify people with mental illness who are a danger to themselves and others and provide safer, more humane systems for their treatment.”