Westminster City Council designated June 3 as Prevention of Gun Death Awareness Day by proclamation May 23.
The vote comes a little over a week after 10 people were killed in Buffalo, New York, in a supermarket shooting. The day after Westminister's vote, a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
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According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least 213 shootings with four or more people killed or injured so far this year.
“Americans support the Second Amendment Right to bear arms, to protect life and property and to protect oneself and family,” the city's proclamation stated. “There is recognition in the inherent responsibility required to own a gun.”
City Councilor Obi Ezeadi said the proclamation is not only a win for gun death awareness but also for City Council. He and City Councilor Bruce Baker negotiated the terms of the proclamation through eight different drafts and came to an agreement.
“This was a negotiation," Ezeadi said. "This was a ‘let’s find common ground that addresses the issue from all sides.' Not just my side, not just your side, but from all sides.”
Ezeadi said the proclamation reveals the council's priorities.
Leslie O’Brien of the local Mom’s Demand Action group championed the proclamation. Mom’s Demand Action is a national movement fighting for public safety measures around gun violence.
“This is the first gun awareness day Westminster has ever voted on as a proclamation,” she said. “This is a huge step for the city.”
She said the group has sent the proclamation to municipalities around Colorado for approval each year for the past eight years. This is the first year Westminster approved it.
Northglenn has approved it in the past, and Thornton has never acknowledged it, according to O'Brien.
During the meeting, Ezeadi touched on his personal experience with guns. He talked about how he was robbed at gunpoint as a preteen in New Jersey.
“He pointed the bow of his gun (and) it touched the skin of my forehead,” he said. “The one thought I remember having in that moment was ‘please don’t kill me.’”
Ezeadi talked about a single mom he knew who murdered her daughter and then died by suicide.
“Westminster, we’ve gone through a few of these as well,” he said.
O’Brien said the purpose of the proclamation is to raise awareness, and that's why it was important for the council to pass it.
“It's really to honor and acknowledge survivors and victims of gun violence in our country and as we’re healing from Buffalo, Texas,” she said. “We’re a nation that is broken, and we need to bring awareness to it.”
She said the state of Colorado has passed legislation regarding gun violence prevention, and to do more than just a proclamation, Westminster can educate children and adults around extreme risk protection orders.
She said these orders are similar to reg flag laws. If someone is at risk to themselves or others, a court order can be issued to physically remove guns from that person’s home, she said.
“In the wake of all of these horrific things, if we can do better, why aren't we?” O’Brien asked.
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